I’m new here and primary carer for my mum, although she is manage most things at the moment, I am finding that she uses emotional blackmail at times which I find difficult to handle. any advice please
Yes, just let the emotional blackmail comments go over your head.
I care for a very elderly mother in law who resorts to this kind of thing. I don’t even no why she does it because she gets everything she needs and is very comfortable and well catered for.
It’s a learned behaviour I think, to induce guilt and a feeling that we should somehow be doing more.
This has impacted on my mental health but I am learning to distance myself from it and recognise that however much we do she will still have her health “crisis “ or mini tantrum because it’s what she does.
It’s taken a while to learn that !
My disabled housebound mum always assumed that if she couldn’t do something, I should do it instead.
Here’s the most ridiculous request. (Bear in mind that at the time I was running a business and supporting my son with learning difficulties). A long lost cousin was visiting her the following week, and finally she wanted to get the roll of kitchen flooring they’d bought years ago, laid before his arrival. Not just lay the flooring, but empty out all the units, take the units out plus dishwasher, cooker unit with oven, and 6ft fridge, so the flooring could go under the units, put the units back and refill them, all in under a week. I told mum I couldn’t do it. Then mum said well I WANT it done. I ran out in tears and didn’t go back for a long time.
Then my husband died, I was nearly killed in an accident, and had a blue badge, barely able to walk, yet still mum left me jobs to do.
I was referred to counselling, on the verge of a breakdown. This was life changing. I was always taught to be a good girl and never say No to my parents. The counsellor helped me to change this, it WAS OK to say No, I had my own life, and it was mine to choose what I did in it.
Better still, he taught me how to manage mum’s expectations. Never to say NO as such, but to just say that I had something else on that day (NEVER feel you have to add a because…) When presented with a list of jobs (usually as soon as I put my head round the door) I would decide what, if anything I was going to do. Once started, I’d say “you asked me to do this, I’m going to finish it before starting anything else”. I’d do it at whatever speed I wanted!
Looking back, the list was just mum’s attempt to get me there and keep me there as long as possible. She wanted my company more than anything else. In fact especially after my husband died and I was disabled, I visited less and less, the last thing I needed was another job. If she had just let me make her a coffee, and one for me too, then let me go, she could have seen me so much more, as I regularly passed the end of her road, but I would be lucky to escape after three hours.
I would do anything now to go and see her for a coffee and chat now.
Give us a few examples of your mum’s blackmail, we may come up with a solution!
Tell us more about your mom. The selfish pig’s handbook to caring is a good resource.