Dislike my mother and feeling guilty


#1

Some background…my Mom is very ill and will likely pass in the next few months. For a number of years (starting prior to her illness) she has been very difficult. She is rude, petty, gossipy and unkind. My husband, children and I feel tolerated at best.

Mom has been particularly indifferent to our youngest child who has learning disabilities. He is immature at times and it’s evident his behavior embarrasses her. Further, she recoils at hugs or other gestures of affection he’s tried to show her. She even went so far as to openly mock him a few years back. I spoke to her about it at the time and she’s never been as horrible since; it’s still clear as day she doesn’t like him. There are other instances of unkindness towards my husband and I – snide things she could have left unsaid, rude behavior she’s displayed at various times, etc. We’ve ignored that.The attitude towards my son, however, really has changed how I view her as a person.

Honestly, I think she’s mean and I just don’t like her very much.

As I said, she is now ill. I live some distance away (hours) from her, but will travel on weekends as I can to help her out. I consider this my responsibility and will treat her well while I’m there. And, I’m always kind to her when we speak on the phone (daily). What I’m really struggling with is how I feel about her and how much I dislike her. This is my mother and I know she will soon be gone. I wish her no ill and I’m sorry for any pain she’s in. I don’t wish that on her at all. I still – on some level – will not be unhappy to leave the drama and pain she causes behind. Clearly, I’m not going to share my feelings with her. I just don’t know how to cope with disliking someone so much (particularly my Mom) knowing full well they soon will be dying. Anyone here struggle with this? If so, how did you deal with it? Any other suggestions? Thanks and God Bless.


#2

No specific advice, but just wanted to say it sounds like you're doing all the right things. You're "honoring" your mother, despite how she treats you and others - and that is truly loving.
You'll be in my prayers...


#3

Of course your most passionate and protective feelings are for your child; and you hurt over your mother's rudeness and lack of charity.Your feelings are natural.

Your personal sense of dislike of your mother is painful and perhaps you could offer those genuine feelings to God, painful as they are, in prayer for your mother's soul. If your mother lacks charity, then she desperately needs your sacrifice and prayer, and no sacrifice is stronger than the hurt over your son.

That you feel anger, hurt, even resentment is not a cause for you to feel guilty, though of course it makes you sad. You act and speak to her with kindness and solicitude, and this means that though you dislike her, you are acting out of the genuine love that Jesus asks of us. "Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you." [Matthew 5:44]

Love at base isn't about feelings it's about actions. Therefore though it doesn't feel like it, the truth in God's eyes is, yes you dislike how your mother speaks and acts, but you effectively love her. That love is no comfort to you, but it's pleasing to God.

As Jesus said, "whatever you do for even the least of my little ones, you do for Me [Matthew 25;40]


#4

I agree with Em--it sounds like you are truly honoring your mother and actively treating her lovingly. :thumbsup:

Can you try to "manage" the conversations? If you ask her questions about her life, her feelings, her proudest moments, etc. you might be able to keep the conversation more positive, leaving you BOTH feeling better about the time you spent together. You might even be able to reverse the "dislike" that you've grown to feel for her, which would be healthy for YOU.

Here are some "interview" questions you could use as conversation starters with her:
genealogy.com/95_carmack.html

If I were in your shoes, I would actually take notes--that might help her stay "on track" with the positive conversation topics.

It sounds like a relationship between her and your youngest child is futile at best, and perhaps even harmful to the child. I personally see no real benefit from forcing them to interact. Can your child play quietly while you make conversation with your mother?


#5

I have the same problem with my mother. In my situation, there was a history of abuse and neglect. However, my mother always made the situation out to be where I felt guilty if I didn't do what she wanted.
I finally stood up and said "Enough is enough" about two months ago (also posted on CAF about this situation).
My mother is so toxic that she has no friends, no relatives interested in being around here, etc. So I felt really bad about just cutting off contact with her, but I just couldn't take all the emotional blackmail anymore. She constantly talked negatively (about me and everyone else), made rude, snide remarks, got furiously mad over the most ridiculous things, etc.
Now she is alone, but I don't know what to do about it. She brought this on herself, really. Maybe someday she will change, but I can't be responsible anymore for her happiness. :shrug:


#6

Irish Girl 68: Sometimes God, in his wisdom, gives us really difficult crosses to bear. While He commands to love everyone, He never said that we had to "like" them. Thank God for the graces He has given you that have allowed you to do all the right things. Thank Him for this cross and offer it to Him. Keep doing what you're doing, if possible. Pray for your mother, especially if her last days are coming soon. Is she aware of this? Her recent behavior could simply be her difficulty at coping with the knowledge that death is near. She could just be scared. None of us are as strong in the faith as we would like to think we are. Just remember that you DO NOT want to regret NOT having done something while she was living that you should have done! My mother passed away last Jan. 2nd. I was thankful that she was moved much closer to us. I do now regret that I didn't make more of an effort to go visit her even though she would probably have forgotten (or never realized) that I was there. Keep praying and asking for God's mercy on your mother and the grace that you need.


#7

I’ve gone through the same thing with relatives. I think the thing that has helped the most is to realize that while we ought not dwell on how much we dislike someone, there is no moral imperative to have good feelings about someone, either. We don’t even have to like people who deserve to have us like them! I’m not saying that we can’t encourage affection in ourselves, we can. I just mean that feelings are not ultimately at our beck and call. Feelings don’t work that way.

We are not bound to excuse behavior that is not excusable, we are not bound to pretend that reconciliation is automatic when we are willing to forgive someone who has no intention of repentance. You do what you have to do in the most patient and kind way you can manage, but you don’t have to feel guilty for not liking someone who is, through their own choices, not likeable. You just have to do your best to be good to them, anyway.

Sometimes, it helps to hope they are not truly aware of how obnoxious they are, and offer it up as reparation for when we ourselves are clueless. I like this poem for that idea:

***The Fool’s Prayer **(Edward R. Sill, 1841-1887)

The royal feast was done, the King
Sought some new sport to banish care,
and to his jester cried: “Sir fool
Kneel now, and make for us a prayer!”

The jester doffed his cap and bells,
And stood the mocking court before;
They could not see the bitter smile
Behind the painted grin he wore.

He bowed his head, and bent his knee
Upon the monarch’s silken stool;
His pleading voice arose: “O Lord,
Be merciful to me, a fool!”

“No pity, Lord, could change the heart
From red with wrong to white as wool;
The rod must heal the sin: but, Lord,
Be merciful to me, a fool!”

"'Tis not by guilt the onward sweep
Of truth and right, O Lord, we stay;
'Tis by our follies that so long
We hold the earth from heaven away.

"These clumsy feet still in the mire,
Go crushing blossoms without end;
These hard well meaning hands we thrust
Into the heart strings of a friend.

"The ill-timed truth we might have kept–
Who knows how sharp it pierced and stung?
The word we had not sense to say–
Who knows how grandly it had rung?

Our faults no tenderness should ask,
The chastening stripes must cleanse them all;
But for our blunders–oh, in shame
Before the eyes of heaven we fall.

“Earth bears no balsam for mistakes;
Men crown the knave and scourge the tool
That did his will; but Thou, O, Lord
Be merciful to me a fool!”

The room was hushed; in silence rose
The King, and sought his garden cool,
And walked apart and murmured low,
“Be merciful to me, a fool!”*


#8

[quote="Augusta_Sans, post:4, topic:221123"]
I agree with Em--it sounds like you are truly honoring your mother and actively treating her lovingly. :thumbsup:

Can you try to "manage" the conversations? If you ask her questions about her life, her feelings, her proudest moments, etc. you might be able to keep the conversation more positive, leaving you BOTH feeling better about the time you spent together. You might even be able to reverse the "dislike" that you've grown to feel for her, which would be healthy for YOU.

Here are some "interview" questions you could use as conversation starters with her:
genealogy.com/95_carmack.html

If I were in your shoes, I would actually take notes--that might help her stay "on track" with the positive conversation topics.

It sounds like a relationship between her and your youngest child is futile at best, and perhaps even harmful to the child. I personally see no real benefit from forcing them to interact. Can your child play quietly while you make conversation with your mother?

[/quote]

This is a very helpful suggestion. One caution - some parents are suspicious of personal or family history questions if there are skeletons in the closet - or at least it depends on their mood. You can probably gauge this since you know your mother well, and back off to neutrality.

It helps to find the positives of the person and emphasize those. Like another poster mentioned, when she passes away you don't want to have regrets. My mother and I had a rather stormy relationship at times but her final years achieved peace and reconciliation by the grace of God.

And now, though I remember the catfights and things, it's - weird as this might sound - with sort of a humorous slant. Maybe I'm just weird.:rolleyes: But I think time and love do heal wounds.:heart::heaven:

My mom's been gone 2-1/2 years now and I just wanted to assure you that some of the stuff you're going through now might not seem as bad viewed through the lens of time.

For now, you have to be assertive too where it's needed, and that can be a fine line to walk. You can't pray too much - both in your quiet times with the Lord, and in the moment if the situation gets trying on your patience. Good luck and God bless. :gopray:


#9

Keep doing what you are doing - only without the guilt. :thumbsup:


#10

Its ok rest assured your emotions are human. However, dealing with difficult people is difficult. Pray, for a softening of your heart to her, and for the intercession of our Lady in this situation. Secondly, she too may be very emotionally needy. It might not hurt to even though you have a few months left sit down and say "Mom, I love you, we don't have much time left, I want to enjoy it. I don't know why this happens, but what are you really trying to say?" Thirdly loving and honoring your mother does not mean being abused or allowing your son to be abused. Do try to catch her off guard with love, but do not put your child in harms way.

Through Christ and Mary


#11

[quote="Irish_Girl_68, post:1, topic:221123"]
Some background...my Mom is very ill and will likely pass in the next few months. For a number of years (starting prior to her illness) she has been very difficult. She is rude, petty, gossipy and unkind. My husband, children and I feel tolerated at best.

Mom has been particularly indifferent to our youngest child who has learning disabilities. He is immature at times and it's evident his behavior embarrasses her. Further, she recoils at hugs or other gestures of affection he's tried to show her. She even went so far as to openly mock him a few years back. I spoke to her about it at the time and she's never been as horrible since; it's still clear as day she doesn't like him. There are other instances of unkindness towards my husband and I -- snide things she could have left unsaid, rude behavior she's displayed at various times, etc. We've ignored that.The attitude towards my son, however, really has changed how I view her as a person.

Honestly, I think she's mean and I just don't like her very much.

As I said, she is now ill. I live some distance away (hours) from her, but will travel on weekends as I can to help her out. I consider this my responsibility and will treat her well while I'm there. And, I'm always kind to her when we speak on the phone (daily). What I'm really struggling with is how I feel about her and how much I dislike her. This is my mother and I know she will soon be gone. I wish her no ill and I'm sorry for any pain she's in. I don't wish that on her at all. I still -- on some level -- will not be unhappy to leave the drama and pain she causes behind. Clearly, I'm not going to share my feelings with her. I just don't know how to cope with disliking someone so much (particularly my Mom) knowing full well they soon will be dying. Anyone here struggle with this? If so, how did you deal with it? Any other suggestions? Thanks and God Bless.

[/quote]

In my opinion there's a difference between like and love. You can dislike a person for what they've done or do, but Love them for other reasons such as being a child of God (or in the case of her being your mother having enough sense to go full term if she felt like this from before you were born.) Also it seems that she's atleast trying to make a good hearted connection, so you could always love her for that. If you continue to love her unconditionally then whether you like or dislike her becomes almost meaningless except to be a comfortable with how you feel about her or not. Sometimes if we find we dislike someone we feel guilty but then later find that we still love them dis-spite the dislike of them we that guilty feeling could go away. Anyone correct me if I'm wrong but I feel you don't have to like to honor and you don't have to like anyone as long as you love everyone (except Satan which I found out recently since I've recently came back to the church after leaving in middle school and wasn't taught that yet).


#12

[quote="greenmoira, post:6, topic:221123"]
Irish Girl 68: Sometimes God, in his wisdom, gives us really difficult crosses to bear. While He commands to love everyone, He never said that we had to "like" them. Thank God for the graces He has given you that have allowed you to do all the right things. Thank Him for this cross and offer it to Him. Keep doing what you're doing, if possible. Pray for your mother, especially if her last days are coming soon. Is she aware of this? Her recent behavior could simply be her difficulty at coping with the knowledge that death is near. She could just be scared. None of us are as strong in the faith as we would like to think we are. Just remember that you DO NOT want to regret NOT having done something while she was living that you should have done! My mother passed away last Jan. 2nd. I was thankful that she was moved much closer to us. I do now regret that I didn't make more of an effort to go visit her even though she would probably have forgotten (or never realized) that I was there. Keep praying and asking for God's mercy on your mother and the grace that you need.

[/quote]

Very wise advice.It's quite different after a loved one passes away.No matter how difficult they've been it it puts everything in a new light.Love & honor your folks while you can.


#13

[quote="Irish_Girl_68, post:1, topic:221123"]
Some background...my Mom is very ill and will likely pass in the next few months. For a number of years (starting prior to her illness) she has been very difficult. She is rude, petty, gossipy and unkind. My husband, children and I feel tolerated at best.

Mom has been particularly indifferent to our youngest child who has learning disabilities. He is immature at times and it's evident his behavior embarrasses her. Further, she recoils at hugs or other gestures of affection he's tried to show her. She even went so far as to openly mock him a few years back. I spoke to her about it at the time and she's never been as horrible since; it's still clear as day she doesn't like him. There are other instances of unkindness towards my husband and I -- snide things she could have left unsaid, rude behavior she's displayed at various times, etc. We've ignored that.The attitude towards my son, however, really has changed how I view her as a person.

Honestly, I think she's mean and I just don't like her very much.

As I said, she is now ill. I live some distance away (hours) from her, but will travel on weekends as I can to help her out. I consider this my responsibility and will treat her well while I'm there. And, I'm always kind to her when we speak on the phone (daily). What I'm really struggling with is how I feel about her and how much I dislike her. This is my mother and I know she will soon be gone. I wish her no ill and I'm sorry for any pain she's in. I don't wish that on her at all. I still -- on some level -- will not be unhappy to leave the drama and pain she causes behind. Clearly, I'm not going to share my feelings with her. I just don't know how to cope with disliking someone so much (particularly my Mom) knowing full well they soon will be dying. Anyone here struggle with this? If so, how did you deal with it? Any other suggestions? Thanks and God Bless.

[/quote]

I suggest seeking professional help, especially since you've so little time left with her. Despite your dislike, you appear to want a better relationship with her, a professional might be able to suggest more specific directions to explore.


#14

I’m not sure I can offer any better sympathy/advice than what you’ve gotten already but here goes…

Has your mother always been a difficult person? You say that there were problems before her illness. I’m wondering if that’s actually the case. Could she have been ill before anyone (including your mother) was aware of it? Or has she just stopped trying to control what have always been the negative aspects of her personality?

Parents and grandparents sometimes dislike certain children. And they often have favorites when there are several children. That’s normal. But children need to be shielded from overtly negative behavior. Good job trying to protect your son.

Again, is this something that is a change or have you always kind of thought this?

You are honoring your mother.

This is irrelevant as far as honoring your mother is concerned but it certainly is painful for you because we all want to have positive feelings about and from our parents.

It may be OK to admit some of your feelings of being hurt. But it’s up to you as to whether or not you want to go that route.

You feel sad and hurt because those are the healthy, normal ways to feel in your circumstances. In other words, you grieve what you don’t have. Then you hug your husband and children because you need them and they have lots of love to offer to you.

Hopefully you have some positive remembrances of your mother and can be grateful for how she enabled you to become the wonderful daughter, wife, and mother that your are today.


#15

[quote="Em_in_FL, post:2, topic:221123"]
No specific advice, but just wanted to say it sounds like you're doing all the right things. You're "honoring" your mother, despite how she treats you and others - and that is truly loving.
You'll be in my prayers...

[/quote]

I agree with this poster. It sounds like you are doing the best you can in difficult circumstances. :(


#16

It sounds like you are doing a jam up job as a daughter.

God bless you!

(FYI, I have a mother in law who treats my family the same. She’s ill and I know very soon I will be the one to have to handle all the affairs because her own daughter hates, yes hates, her.)

In confession one time, I mentioned to the priest that my MIL is going to send me to hell… know what he said … “Or she can send you to Heaven” :rolleyes:

Hang in there. You never know, mom might change. If not, then you know that you’ve done everything humanly possible to get along with her and honor her.

well done my good and faithful servant :slight_smile:


#17

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.