Ask Auntie Linda, Straight Talk from a Straight Shooter

Auntie LindaDear Auntie Linda, I retired a couple of years ago.  My elderly mother lives near me. she visits often is way too involved in my life. Every morning she calls to see what I am up.  If I have shopping to do, she often says she’d like to ride along it I don’t object.  If I don’t want to include her, I have to make an excuse.  She comes over several times a week and stays till I tell her I have to get busy.  If I spend time with other family members, she expects to be included.  She throws out broad hints to be included when I plan vacations, but I refuse to invite her if my husband is going, since he’d rather not travel with her.  She wants to stop every couple of hours for a bathroom break and gets another drink so we are always looking for a bathroom.  She wants to stop for a long lunch restaurant.  Needless to say, he doesn’t want to make “old lady” trips.  When I do travel with Mother, I usually bear the total expense since she foster the illusion that I am well-off.  I wish I had maintained more distance since I retired since I don’t want to live and breathe my mother.  She is intrusive and points out outrageously obvious things before I have time to attend to them.  “You forgot to open your mail.” “Your tea-kettle is whistling.”  “The buzzer on you stove just went off.” She is offended when I point out that ” I don’t open the bills since Joe pays them.  That’s his business. “, “I’m on the way to take the kettle(buzzer)off.”  Mother’s mind is not bad.  She’s just too much at home in my business.  She frequently tells me, “I never talked back to my mother, and I am glad now I didn’t” to try to make me feel guilty.  I have to point out my grandmother lived 800 miles away and didn’t get much chance to butt in.  How in the world do I make the message clear?  Harassed Daughter

Dear Harrassed,  Be frank.  When your mom calls, tell her you don’t know what your plans are.  If you don’t have time or interest in having a visit, tell her you don’t have time today, or tell her exactly how long you want company.  When she is intrusive, be frank. Make it clear you’ll invite her when the time is right.  She will be offended, but she probably won’t die from the shock.  If she wants to go to lunch, let her know if you don’t want to pay for hers.  It’s better to set limits than avoid her.  Auntie Linda

Dear Auntie Linda, I have six sisters and one brother.  Our father was a very difficult man.  When we gather at holiday dinners and discuss our lives, as adult children do, my brother insists we are exaggerating in our stories of our lives with Dad.  He tells a much different tale, glorifying my father and ignoring any flaws.  Indeed, my brother was my Dad’s Golden Boy, but Daddy didn’t spare him totally.  Several times my dad became enraged and beat him badly.  Why on earth would he defend him?  Mystified

Dear Mystified, Obviously, your brother created a better past for himself.  There is no point in arguing.   It won’t change anything.  You know the truth.  Auntie Linda

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10 thoughts on “Ask Auntie Linda, Straight Talk from a Straight Shooter

  1. Every day I get to visit my Mum is a gift. It’s a 250 mile round trip, and we don’t know how she will be from one day to the next. I am thankful she is living with family, though appreciate how difficult that can be especially as dementia is taking a hold. I agree with your response, but maybe Harrassed’s mother is lonely particularly is she is the only child living locally.

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