Drowning in negativity


Ok, so my daughter is in Europe right now. My dad offered to take her with him while he visited relatives in Germany (they also are going to France and possibly Switzerland or Austria.) I think he is totally awesome for giving her this opportunity. They left the first week in August and won’t be back until the 31st.

My mom stayed home -she did not want to go. Which is actually good because my parents fight horribly and I honestly don’t think I would have let our daughter go if she was going because I did the whole vacation in Germany while I was a kid and their fighting made me miserable.

So my mom is nearly 80 and doesn’t drive. She also hates being home, and stressed about being alone. I call her everyday to check on her and take her places and/or stop by several times a week between working my part time job. My mom is a very negative person, and any changes or stress just makes her worse. Its been two weeks now of listening to her constant complaining, her regrets in life (basically her whole life is one big regret according to her), how awful my dad was/is, how much more successful the rest of her family is, how much money they have, (my parents are not hurting for money -my dad and my daughter flew first class to Germany and are staying at a hotel that cost $125 a night for nearly a month), it goes on and on and on.

I’ve tried reasoning with her, tried getting her to see all the good things in her life, trying to get her to see how hearing all this negative stuff about my dad all the time really bothers me etc. It doesn’t matter -everytime I’m around her or talk to her -its the same thing, and its getting worse the longer my dad is gone. I can’t not check on her, that wouldn’t be right. She has all sorts of health problems and she is home alone. There is no other family here and her friends are elderly like her and in worse condition. I am starting to crack from being dragged down from all the negativity.

I already sort of hung up on her once -I did say goodbye but I don’t know if she heard me because she was obnoxiously repeating the same phrase over and over just so I couldn’t get a word in. I was with her again today. I brought over my Godchild because she really loves little kids and adores my Godchild. Usually she’s very happy when I bring her over. But it was all negativity again. All the things she never got to do (supposedly my dad’s fault -my mom can not ever accept responsibility for anything -really she can’t, never has.) All the things she never had. And all about material wealth and physical beauty. For example my cousin “married beneath her” because the man she married was nearly 10 years older and not nearly as handsome as the man she previously dated -who her mom (my mom’s sister) wanted her to marry. Now he’s old and sick and she would have done so much better with a younger, richer man. Doesn’t matter that they are very happy together. (Gag…it just makes me want to gag.)

I’ve still got another 11 days of dealing with this until my dad gets back. I’m starting to feel run down, and almost depressed from the constant barage. I dread calling her everyday -but I make myself because God forbid something happens. She drives me mad but I still love her.

I don’t know if there is even an answer except just suck it up and get through it. God help me if my dad passes before my mom (I know that sounds awful) but I don’t know what I’d do.


*]Ask her to pray with you?
*]Put on a headset and drown her out with something more pleasant?
*]Treat her like the child she is behaving like and put her in a time out til she can be pleasant?
*]Be blunt. Say “enough of that talk. Talk about something else”. Keep interrupting her and saying that. Most likely she’ll just stop talking. Say Thank you.
*] Make her step outside with you. If she needs to go on and on, tune her out and focus on nature.

Just a few suggestions.


it is so hard dealing with negative aging parents…You are caught btwn a rock and a hard place b/c she needs to be checked on for her health but being around her can be intolerable…I understand…To do your duty as her child…check on her but don’t spend too much time with her…I know this sounds mean, but you don’t need to be around negative people…even if she’s your mother…


I’m sorry you’re having to deal with all that negativity. It seems very sad to me that she can’t be happy about anything. :frowning: I know you said you’ve tried to remind her of all the good things in her life, but I guess you have to just keep trying.

What if you tell her how her negativity is affecting you? That it’s really hurting you (and others around her)? Maybe if you were very honest with her it would get through to her.

Is your mother Catholic (or Christian)? If she is, maybe you can remind her that humility and thankfulness for what one has are good qualities.

I highly recommend praying the chaplet of Divine Mercy – you can specifically pray it for her if you want to. It’s obviously meant for asking for the Lord’s mercy at the hour of one’s death, but I pray it for my loved ones with the hope that the Lord will send His mercy “early” and help them with their daily trials.

I’ll say a prayer for you and your mom that the next few weeks are a time of enjoying each other’s company and that your mom will find a way to get out of the negative mindset she’s stuck in. :hug1:


Thanks so much for the prayers and encouragement. :slight_smile:

I have tried telling her how it affects me. Doesn’t do any good. Either she brushes me off or tells me how lucky I am and I could never understand “because my husband lets me do what I want.” This is my mom not taking responsibility for the choices she’s made in life. She blames my dad for everything, and says he stopped her from doing what she wanted when in reality my mom is mostly held back by fear. She’s afraid to try things so instead she blames my dad for “not letting her.” Her latest ranting is that she always wanted to be a kindergarten teacher but she never was allowed to do that. My mom didn’t marry until she was almost 30. She never did one thing to even try to become a teacher but its all my dad’s fault because “he didn’t let her”.

I tried to get through to her last week when I was stuck with her on a long drive and starting to lose my mind, I said how would you feel if every time your mom (when she was alive) always said negative things about your dad. It took several times repeating the question because she would try to change the subject or attack me turning around asking “How would you feel if you had a daughter that was always against you?” She finally said she wouldn’t like it. After that instead of ranting about my dad she ranted against me. Things I did as a teenager, how I came in between her and my dad and ruined her marriage (that’s an old one she’s been throwing at me since I was 13 - I ruined her marriage.)

My mother doesn’t understand what humility is -really she sees it as weakness. And I’ve tried the thankfulness thing -its all back to I don’t understand because my life is so much easier. My life is so much better than hers -I am in heart failure at 37, my husband and I are almost always bordering on broke, and I live in a double wide mobile home. I wanted lots of kids but the heart thing wouldn’t allow it, we were blessed with one beautiful girl. I am happy, and I am grateful, and I have a great marriage but my life is not perfect. But I look to all the good things in my life.

I’ve tried telling her the things that are important are faith, family and friends - but all she see’s is material wealth and physical beauty. She once asked the son of a friend who was studying to be a doctor why would he become a doctor when he was so handsome he could become a movie star. :rolleyes:

She loves my husband because he’s the quiet type who likes to keep the peace. My mom is Italian and my dad is German and they are both strong willed, knuckle heads and everything is a battle. She always says how lucky I am that my husband is the way he is. Its not like my mom was forced to marry my dad -they dated for two years before marrying. She knew he was a strong willed, old fashioned guy -she signed up for that. I didn’t marry my husband by dumb luck, I am a strong willed person like my dad and I bristle at being told what to do (less now that I’m older and more mature but I met my hubby as a teenager). I knew my husband was the way he was. She acts like everything that happened to her was imposed on her. And the victim mentality is really hard for me to deal with.

Thanks for letting me vent.:o


I could try that. She might roll her eyes but I’ve tried just about everything else.

Hah, hah this is how I survived my teenage years.:smiley: I start praying the rosary in my head sometimes now.

Oh boy. My mom might be almost 80 and have health troubles but she is a fiesty little Italian lady whom no one would guess by looking at her that she is as old as she is. I could never get away with that. I have left when it gets too stressful.

I’ve done the “We need to change the subject.” Once in a while it does work. But if she’s going full throttle and not in the mood to quit and I kept interrupting her she’s most likely throw something at me.

I can’t make her do anything. I could suggest a walk which she likes to do but when she’s in this mode she’ll just crab the entire walk. It may work as a distraction on rare occasions.

Thanks for the suggestions, I appreciate you trying to think of ways to help things.:slight_smile:


Thanks for your understanding.


Whether they are 8 months, 8 years, 18 years or 80, kids still need to fuss and vent and stomp their feet and shake their fists over life, the universe, and everything: *“I want a cookie, I want a pottie, me me me, mine, mine, mine, I want, I want, I want!” * It’s no different at 80 than it is at 8.

If you left the kids home alone for an hour to go to the store you’d get the full venting fussing report from them; they’d be climbing over one another to be the first to tell you when you got back!:
“He took my doll!” “She broke my bike!” “He hit me!” "She was on MY side of the sofa!"
You leave your kids for an hour to go to the store and you’ll get a good half hour of fussing and venting over who did what to whom every time, guaranteed. There will be a big litany of complaints over who was touching whom and who was getting into whose stuff and who was on whose side of what and who broke whose favorite toy and who made the big mess in the kitchen…
This kid (your mother) has been left alone in the house with that other kid (your father) for how many years? 50?
So, ok, your mother is 80…
You’re the parent now… and so you pick up the phone or walk in the door and are greeted with 80 years’ worth of venting and fussing over 80 years’ worth of baggage of who did what to whom.

Everybody vents out and sorts out the baggage of a lifetime before they die, you know… they certainly wouldn’t want to take all that baggage with them when they go passing on!
All that baggage has to stay here on the earth, so all that junk gets vented and sorted and left with the earth. Some people can take 10 or 20 years to vent out and sort out their baggage in preparation to let it go and pass from this world!

Ok, well it’s not a fun process. It’s not fun to sit with a venting fussy baby or a kid’s endless litanies of who did what to whom, but be aware that all children need to vent and fuss, and wise parents recognize it for what it is and shrug and hug, and even an 80 year old still has the same needs as an 8 year old.
It is important to aid this process. It has nothing to do with you whatsoever.
They all have to vent out, then sort out their baggage before they die, they do.
So whenever it truly gets to you enough to leave you fantasizing about chewing your way through the front door on your way out, just tell her that you think that she is holding back. Come on, come on, you know she can do much better than that! She isn’t trying hard enough! She isn’t complaining loudly enough! She is holding back and you know it! Why she isn’t hardly even making any effort here at all!
All that rage, disappointment, anger, baggage needs airing out…
and we all really do want to hear about the time Genghis Khan chained her to the water buffalo…

If she is coaxed, pushed, prodded, and encouraged with the fussing and venting, she will eventually air it all out and let it go and begin to soften and admit that well…
maybe he wasn’t really Genghis Khan…
and maybe that wasn’t really a water buffalo after all,


I’m sure this is part of how God plans to make you holy!

Honestly, I think what you’re doing is part of honoring your father and mother. You’re right, there is no other option than to check on her and listen to her rants (to a point!).

Think of it as part of your purgatory on earth and try to see the graces that will come from it. God puts difficult people in our lives to make us grow. You must really be growing now!

Plus, your dad gets a break and your dd gets an amazing experience w/ her grandfather. Not many girls get to do what she’s doing. :thumbsup: By being willing to check on your mom, you are helping them.

Keep praying - you’ll make it!


You got it. :hug1:

(Saying a prayer for your health situation too. :crossrc: )

Good post! :clapping:


I think we have the same mother! :eek: I so know what you’re going through. Everything out of my mom’s mouth is a complaint about something (finances, her 2800sqft house, her new GMC Acadia, etc.) or someone (my step-dad, my sister, my brother, even strangers she meets at the stores). My mom has no friends, as she says that she doesn’t need any. I’m her sounding box for everything. Ugh. I feel like I’m an emotional hostage. Does that sound familiar?

Just wanted to let you know that you’re not alone and that I’ll add you to my prayers!

God bless!


That was great. Tell your mom to let you know how she REALLY FEELS about it.

Seriously, the only thing you can control in this situation is YOU. You choose how you want to react to her. Maybe you are wanting to fix “her” and that isn’t going to happen. Stop taking what she says literally or giving it any importance. She is just making noise. Your response to everything should be “uh huh.” :thumbsup:

Should she accuse you of not listening, you ask if she said anything that she hasn’t said a hundred times before.:stuck_out_tongue:

Remember, the only one you can change is YOU. Take an attitude adjustment. There are more important things to drive you nuts like people who don’t use their blinkers. :stuck_out_tongue:


Your mother sounds a lot like my mother-in-law. The family suspects she suffers from borderline personality disorder.
I guess it comes down to finding a balance of maintaining charity while keeping boundaries and protecting your sanity. I know it is not easy.


When I first began taking care of my mom, moved in because she could no longer care for
herself, it was very, very rough. I was not the “favorite” child, I was subborn and took “over” her life,etc, etc. Well, after several months, I was at the end of my rope and
when I went to confession I confessed my frustrations, my impatience with her. I don’t
even remember what the priest told me, but from then on, the situation got better with my
mother. She began to treat me differently, I wasn’t as impatient, etc, etc. There were still
a lot of rough patches but the changes were noticible to everyone around us.

You are her safe person to vent with—she knows that you will still love her. Maybe you could just tell her over and over again: Mom, I love you and I am grateful to you for my life,
I will always love you, but it is hard to like you sometimes and one of those times in now.
Please let’s just dwell on some good things today. If you continue to dwell on the negative,
I will not listen or respond. Our visits will be shorter and shorter. It’s your choice.

And, you might try going to confession about it.:slight_smile:


I am just remembering when my grandmother was at that age. I think I eventually figured out that she was saying the same things over and over because she was kind of stuck in that mode and couldn’t take in any new information. I don’t think I would try to reason with your mother. I think I would just tell her you are so sorry, or comment on how that sounds terrible, or thank her for some of the nice things that she has done for you. I just wouldn’t engage her in the negativity. Surely there is some way to just keep her at bay because your dad has been managing it for 50 years now.


Hah hah my dad manages because he bought a second house which he escapes to about 3 to 4 days out of the week.:stuck_out_tongue: This isn’t old age, my mother was this way when I was growing up. Did I mention I got married at 18 and moved away? :wink: Back then she drove some -like within a couple square miles of our house. That’s about the only difference. I’m pretty sure she has a personality disorder but she’s actually been better for the most part the last couple years. Either that or she’s been taking it all out on my dad and leaving me alone. I think part of it is her being alone so much is freaking her out and stress really brings out the negativity.

Today when I went to go pick her up on my way home from work to take her to the mall I found out while I was work she locked herself out of her bedroom. Its a key lock which she lost the key to years ago. (She got the lock when I was teen because she didn’t trust me and would lock the door to her room before leaving me home alone. I never did a thing that would have warranted that.)

She’s done this before and we’ve had my daughter climb through the window to unlock it. Well she tried shoving every key she owned in the lock thinking some how that would work. She also tried screw drivers, a butter knife etc. When it didn’t she actually went and got a ladder (I can’t believe she did this) and my 79 year old mother climbed through the bedroom window from the outside and had to jumb down into the house from the window. Well once she got inside she found out the lock wouldn’t open from the inside either. I’m betting she broke it trying to cram stuff in the lock but she adamantly denies that’s why it wouldn’t open. After beating on the knob with everything she could get her hands on in the bedroom she figured out that wasn’t going to work. So she climbs back out the window, goes to basement, gets a sledge hammer and tries to bash off the knob. That did’t work, so she climbs back in the window with her sledge hammer and finally bashed the knob off from the inside. Even though it fell off it still wouldn’t open. She finally got it open by smashing the mechanism with a screw driver. Did I mention she was a feisty, little Italian lady?

I told her she should have waited for me. She could have fallen and broke her leg or something. Ok so apparently she isn’t afraid to try everything -crazy things she’s not afraid of apparently.

At least she spent the whole way to the mall talking about the door instead of crabbing about her life.:wink:


Yup, yup and yup. Thanks for the moral support and prayers. :slight_smile:


:eek: :eek: :eek: :eek: :shrug:


Get her a big package of cheese and tell her it’s to go with the w(h)ine

Yes, I was trying to make a funny and cheer you up; I work grocery retail and I have 80 year old customers who Act Just Like This, so you have my prayers and my utmost empathy.


Of course she is not afraid of sledge hammering the door. It was not crazy. It was the best therapy in the world for her. It gave her a chance to vent off some of that interior rage that she carries around constantly inside her and that you see her express as her endless negativity.
This woman really does need encouragement to vent out her issues in some safe manner. More doors and more sledge hammers or an old mattress and a baseball bat to smack it with would probably do her a world of good. Dig deep enough and you’ll probably find that Genghis Khan really did chain her to a waterbuffalo when she was 3 (or something equally horrible), that it was not safe for her to express the rage where the rage was legitimately due, and that nothing and no one has been right with her world since that time. It is likely that this woman has a veritable steamer trunk of baggage from her childhood that you as her daughter have no idea even exists.

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