Ask an expert

16 Jun 2011

bitchy daughter
My husband and I are retired living in a small country town. He is 80 years old and suffers from vascular dementia and congestive heart failure. We have 3 sons and a daughter. The only one living fairly close to us is our daughter. She is separated from her husband. She comes down to visit us (with her 2 children who are university students) about once every two months. I am finding her visits increasingly upsetting as she is so critical of me. These are minor criticisms like the way I pronounce a word or the fact that my microwave is not as clean as it should be, the way my furniture is arranged, the fact that I have too many plants on my veranda. I always serve them lunch and this is always a problem as she does not eat meat, says she has a gluten intolerance, eats nothing fried or anything with onion ... the list goes on and on. So most times she eats very little of whatever I have prepared. Sometimes she even encourages the children to criticise me but doesn''t usually succeed as they are very fond of my husband and me. I really just don''t get what this is all about. Is there some " be nasty to old mother syndrome"  or something?
Answer 385 views

01 Jan 0001

I understand, from professional and personal experience, the major effort of caring for a dementing loved one. Its hard, though, to understand why your daughter should be so unpleasantly critical of you, especially about such trivial and unreasonable issues. It's YOUR home - why does she feel its any of her business how you choose to arrange YOUR furniture in YOUR home ? Her food fussiness sounds far more neurotic than based on any true allergies or intolerance.
As Liza says, it sounds very much as though all this arises from her personal unhappiness, and her preference for finding ways to blame anyone else for her being a troubled person, rather than arising from anything wrong on your side. SHE is the problem, and not you.
Outstanding responses from other readers, sadly revealing that such cruel and selfish children are more common that we'd like to think.
It would be fair to calmly point out that she is super-critica, in unreasonable ways, whenever she visits, and ask her if she can help you to understand why this is. And I like Maria's suggestion that you openly but pleasantly invite your grandchildren to visit when it suits them, and not necessarily with their mother.
If she would feel hurt by that, this points all the more stringly to pathology within her. And if they would allow this bitter women to decide ANYTHING they do, such as visit you, that is very sad indeed. She sounds unwholesomely manipulative. Your range of activities and wholesomeness puts her to chame, and maybe she perceives this, and this may lie behind her ugly behaviour
The information provided does not constitute a diagnosis of your condition. You should consult a medical practitioner or other appropriate health care professional for a physical examination, diagnosis and formal advice. Health24 and the expert accept no responsibility or liability for any damage or personal harm you may suffer resulting from making use of this content.