Honoring parents while correcting them

Its definitely a fine line in the command to honor you mother/father and feeling a need to correct them. Not correct their spelling but their behavior. My mother insists on judging others and speaking her mind to other family members and it leaves me embarrassed and mortified. I will, in private, try to correct her behavior which leads to her crying or attacking me. Both of which bother me but i can ignore the attacks on me but not the attacks on family.
She is 70 and doesnt drive so i take her to visit family a couple times a year. This past weekend was one of those times with family. I have started a letter to my aunt (her sister) to apologize 3 times and each time i toss it not knowing if it will make things worse or just come across at bashing my mother which is not my intent at all.

Does anyone else have issues or advice they can share with me on dealing with a parent like that? Should i try to apologize for her behavior with family members. She also tells them things that i have said that she has taken completely out of context and twisted to her judgmental ways. I worry they think i am really saying those things she tells me she told them.:frowning:

My mother has a reputation for being mean and nasty. The way I ended up dealing with it so that it does not bother me was two-fold. She was particularly mean to me one day (to the point that my husband want to drive to her house and tell her off once and for all). I decided enough is enough and I didn’t talk to her for 6 months. She now knows that I am no longer a child and just have to take it. I can walk away and live my own life if she chooses to speak to me that way. When it comes to family, I talked to my aunts (my mom only has sisters) and they know that is just the way she is and it will never change. While it bothers them, they know it is her and not them and can live with the behavior. With others, I just smile, thank them for their patience and simply state at least she isn’t going home with them.

I stopped trying to change her long ago. She is now 65 and is too set in her ways. I say my peace and then let it go. An example of this is she had a mild stoke late last summer. She was being difficult with everyone and denying her poor habits caused it. I try to reinforce her good behaviors and make sure she knows her bad ones (i.e. continuing to smoke) only affect her and no one else. That is as close to “correcting” her bahavior as I get anymore.

Yes…when my parents would take me out to a restaurant. If it was of my choosing, they’d be upset, make a scene, up and leave, saying the restaurants they go to are better.

Once, guess it was here in Mexico, guess we went to 3 restaurants trying to find one my parents would be happy with, and they still weren´t really happy.

I´d apologize time and again for this to waiters or whomever was present.

Now, we rarely communicate, and when we do, it´s just over Skype. I stopped visiting, because it´s just too hard on me trying to get along, or feeling excluded, invalidated and more. My father passed away last year, and he wouldn´t speak to me, anyway.

Our dynamics were a little different, because I tried all kinds of things, went by myself to counseling to try to learn how to speak to them. The last years of his life, he wasn´t really speaking to me.

I tried writing e-mails, letters, and never, in all my life, had my father answered…not once…(I’m 50).

With my mother, yeah, I had apologized, tried for years to act as a kind of peace maker of the family, but it got too tiring.

Oh yeah, one last thing, especially if she’s 70 years old, forget about changing her. It´s highly unlikely you can “correct” her at that age.

I tried not correcting her for a while and letting her be her, but i worry because of what she tells other family members that i am saying stuff that isnt correct -it bothers me and i dont want them to think i feel that way about them. ’

Just this weekend she was fussing about some family members that really have financial difficulties and i told her she needs to ask God to replace her callused heart with the compassionate heart of Jesus and she let me know she doesnt have a callused heart, she has compassion for those that deserve it. I told her she was judging and that even Jesus didnt judge the adulterous woman but told her to go sin no more. She counterattacked with did you know Catholics killed Christians, how do you feel about that???

I worry about her in the afterlife, i do pray for her but i still worry her OSAS is going to get her a direct flight to hades.

I would go back to not correcting her if I were you. It sounds like she is not only very set in her ways, but also hostile to criticism. Which means she isn’t going to hear and then take your advice. When it comes to her being rude or unkind to other people, try to remind yourself that it is between her and them and that no reasonable person would hold you responsible for their mother’s behavior. Especially with family - of course, they were her family before they were yours - so they’ve got to be accustomed to her by now. My guess is that these people know what she’s like and aren’t going to quickly believe what she says. If you feel the need to clear your name, you may have to do that separately, to them.

I’m not sure what she is telling people about you - is she lying about things you’ve said? If she is outright telling lies about you, then you may need to set some boundaries with her, and limit contact if she will not be respectful. Doesn’t have to be about her being kinder, but rather about you not being willing to be treated poorly. You can’t make her more compassionate, but you can leave her house, or decide to leave early, or decide not to take trips with her. Naturally, for a person who can’t get around on her own, this is pretty extreme, and shouldn’t be decided lightly. But if the behavior is bad enough, you are not required to take it.

If she is talking about others to you privately, you might do well to get accustomed to saying “hmmm…” and changing the topic, or leaving the room - find ways to not engage the conversations that you know will end up with her lashing out.

In short, try to accept that she is who she is, and don’t put so much responsibility on yourself to try to get her to change. Set limits if you need to, to protect yourself from disrespect, but otherwise, with her volatility, the best you can do for her is to pray for her and be a good example of a kind person.

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