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I had a relevation, I've realized my mother is passive aggressive, although I think I may have thought this before. Here's what happened yesterday. We went to a little deli and I was getting lunchmeat at the deli counter and she had mentioned earlier that she wants one of their pickles. They have a big barrel of pickles and you slide the lid, take the tongs and pick one out and put it in a bag. So as I was waiting for the lunchmeat, I told her "go get your pickle". She said "I don't know how", (that set me off more than you can imagine). I said "yes you do, it's not hard, you take the tongs and pick one out). So she walked away nonchalant, right past the pickle barrel......
so after I got my lunchmeat I went over by her and said, so did you get the pickle? (knowing that she didn't). She said no, I said why not, she said I don't want it anymore. I said "why because I'm not gonna get it for you?" she said yes, and I lost it. I said "mom, you're not dumb, and you're not helpless, but I think you like to pretend you are". We checked out, left the store, and I was disgusted with her at that point. As we drove away, I said I don't understand why you didn't just go get the pickle? she said I don't want to argue, I said I'm not arguining, I just don't understand why you play dumb and pretend to be helpless.....she said, that's how you see it.....so I said ok, then tell me how it is? she shuts up, and then I get more upset and press her and she says I don't want to argue. So I was mad all the way home, and still upset about it today, because I feel guilty for getting so mad, but I feel justified. This is just another way of her trying to manipulate me, and I resisted it. We left the store without a pickle.....LOL oh well, not my problem. If she would have said, my wrist hurts, or anything besides "I don't know how", I would have got the pickle for her. If she would have said, would you go get it? maybe I would have, but to say "I don't know how" just burns me to the core. This is a woman who taught me to drive a stick shift when I was 13 because she wanted me to be independent and never get stuck in a car with someone who was drunk and couldn't drive and me not knowing how to drive stick. She wanted me to learn before I learned automatic, otherwise she said I would never learn. This is a woman who taught me to play chess when I was 6 years old.....you're telling me she didn't know how to get a pickle out of a barrel with tongs and put it in a plastic bag? I know this is so ridiculous and it's not worth all this typing! It's making me LOL to think about how stupid this whole thing is. But I was thinking about it and I said to myself, she's submissive and stubborn (and submissive people really irritate me). Then I thought about it and said submissive/stubborn = passive aggressive. It was like a light bulb went off......I hate to fight over something so stupid, but that was the straw that broke the camels back. She is the most co-dependent person on the planet, and I learned to be co-dependent from her and it's affected me in a lot of ways. I struggle against it, now that I realize what it is. I've read up on it, passed on a book to her, told her to read the symptoms, she fits every one of them. I always told her to toughen up, stand up for yourself, but I didn't realize she was co-dependent until I read up on it. She will put everyones needs above her own. I would put peoples needs above my own in relationships until I became a doormat, and she wondered why.....well that's why, that's what I learned from her. If I ever would think about putting my needs first, I would feel guilty and selfish. I'm resentful, yes....I still feel guilty for stuff that I probably shouldn't. I feel guilty for telling her she acts helpless, but it's the truth and i think she needed to hear it. For example of her putting everyones needs above her......at a restaraunt one time the waitress asked her what kind of toast she wanted and she said, whatever's easier......I just rolled my eyes and said MOM what do YOU want? you're the customer, you're paying....but she's worried about what bread is easier for the waitress to reach, can you believe it? It's like she has no self-worth, and no self-esteem and at 78 years old I guess it will be hard to expect her to magically get some, but it's getting very old with me. I just get disgusted, and then I feel guilty. Does anyone understand or have suggestions?
I realize this is way too long and I'm sorry....:(
I can relate, Rose. My mother is 78 too, and I think number one, they come from a generation of women that was raised ina totally different way than we were raised. Good girls don't have tempers, they never get angry, they share, they care about others more than their own selfish needs, a lady never raises her voice, never immasculates her husband by stating an opinion that opposes his, never shows him that she knows something he doesn't, etc. Like Shakespeare's play The Taming Of The Shrew. Well katarina was never tamed at all by Petrucio. She just learned how to be a "good woman" and was submissive to him, but was still a total bi-atch to all the other women. Like your mom, my mom made sure I went to college, insisted on it as a matter of fact, always told me to never feel like I had to get married or have kids to please her, let me read Ms. Magazine when I was 9 years old, always told me a woman doesn't NEED a man, and then now, she says I'm alone because of all MY "feminist nonsense" that I learned at her knee!! She can't start a sentence without "your father" and then going on a ten minute tirade about what a horrible husband he's been and how miserable he made her life. We went to dinner once and there was a double dish, an entree for two that my brother wanted half of, and my father said well I'll get an extra plate of this, and you get the double entree with him. Well she didn't want the entree so instead of saying she didn't want to, she fussed and pouted and mumbled under her breath about how "I never get to have what I want, can't even get the dish I want" etc. till I finally said dad, you and brother get the double dish since you wanted the other half anyway and mom can get what she wants. She always says "I wish you would" instead of "could you please" which also drives me nuts. She also gets so angry with my father when for example he doesn't fix something that desperately needs fixing, like a leak in the upstairs bathroom that caused the ceiling below to get soft and have a huge pucker in it. She calls the plummer, he cancels, or she wants to call the plummer and my dad says no and she gets mad instead of calling anyway, and then complains. They have a rental house that needs work that my dad doesn't want to get done so she calls a handy man to come and then depends on my father to drive her over to meet the handy man and of course my dad doesn't, so the handy man leaves, etc. It's exhausting and frustrating, and even crazy making, but it's just the luck, or unluck, of the draw. We're stuck witht he parents we have and they will be who they are.

But I think it's a combination of the generation they are from, and age. The older you get, the more set in your ways you get and the more dependent you get and the more you rely on what is safe and familiar and comfortable. One of the hardest lessons for me to learn in my life is that you can't change who your parents are. I still try sometimes despite myself, but it only ends up in fights and bickering and an unpleasant time for everyone. I've just learned to let my mom be who she needs to be now. Part of being an adult is accepting who your parents are and forgiving them for not being who you wanted them to be, and taking over for them and raising yourself, or re-raising yourself as the case may be. They do the best they can with what they have. As frustrating as it can be, it's not our job to raise or retrain our parents. It's our job to humor them and make them as comfortable as we can while staying out of the fray as much as we can so we can hang onto our own sanity.





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