Family division by mother

Postby Ruthym » Tue Oct 24, 2017 11:43 pm

Hi all, this is my first post and I'm so curious as to the reasoning behind this.
My mother, 79yrs, has five daughters. She is consistently lying to us all individually which causes anger, arguments and family division. She claims to be heartbroken by the division yet continues to add to it by telling one of us something and another a completely differing opinion. I'm sure her mental capacity is still ok so why would she do this ? Tia
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#1

Postby Richard@DecisionSkills » Wed Oct 25, 2017 2:15 am

You can start resolving the issue by you focusing on you. If you believe your mother lies to you, ask her why. The other thing you can do is to stay out of whatever pool of drama the other 4 daughters wish to swim around in. If you don’t participate, you won’t be caught up in it.
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#2

Postby Ruthym » Wed Oct 25, 2017 10:46 am

Hi Richard thanks for taking time to reply. I do try and distance myself from any drama but when it come to legal and family issues it's tricky. For example Mum wants to change her power of attorneys and is telling one person her wishes, then tells another something different. This then causes problems between the two. The have been othe issues with her agreeing to let one of us taking a piece of furniture then telling another sister it's been stolen. I'm intrigued as to why she would be playing us off against each other ? Why try and purposely cause us to divide ?
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#3

Postby quietvoice » Wed Oct 25, 2017 11:17 am

Ruthym wrote: Why try and purposely cause us to divide ?

Richard@DecisionSkills wrote:. . . ask her why.

Perhaps, it gives her a feeling of control, which is an illusion.

The only true control that we each have is Self-Control, if we choose to use it.
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#4

Postby laureat » Wed Oct 25, 2017 11:51 am

your mother is getting old and she doesn't feel comfortable about it
you and your sisters should try to be more supportive and make her feel more comfortable
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#5

Postby Ruthym » Wed Oct 25, 2017 12:05 pm

Hi lauraet thanks for your response. We are fully supportive of her and are all there for her in whatever area that is. But she consistently seems to play us off against each other. We've sat and had open honest discussions with her about any issues that have arisen, we've also discussed how it leads to conflict between us when she says one thing to one of us, then puts us down to another. We are all in agreement that we should all be working together now in mums best interests esp as she's getting older, yet this carries on.
I think you're right Richard in that it's a form of control. The sad thing is that with it now involving legal issues we are afraid to talk to her in depth as we're worried about being too involved and possibly implicating ourselves in some way because she's changing her stories according to who she's talking to
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#6

Postby quietvoice » Wed Oct 25, 2017 12:17 pm

Ruthym wrote:I think you're right Richard in that it's a form of control. The sad thing is that with it now involving legal issues we are afraid to talk to her in depth as we're worried about being too involved and possibly implicating ourselves in some way because she's changing her stories according to who she's talking to

Today, my name is Richard. But only for today, and only for this post.

Shouldn't she be talking with her lawyer about her legal issues? What sort of implications are you imagining? The character of the witness is not so good, given her continual lying, as it is portrayed here.
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#7

Postby Richard@DecisionSkills » Wed Oct 25, 2017 3:21 pm

Ruthym wrote: The have been othe issues with her agreeing to let one of us taking a piece of furniture then telling another sister it's been stolen. I'm intrigued as to why she would be playing us off against each other ? Why try and purposely cause us to divide ?


It sounds like your assessment of your mother’s mental faculties as being fully capable might be off. She might seem clear and coherent in her thought process in a given moment, yet have issues with memory. Specifically issues with short term memory, such as what happened to a piece of furniture or what power she wishes to give to whom.

At 79, if she has not been trying to divide the daughters since you were teenagers, if she was not lying and deceptive all the time when you were younger, trying to create a divide, then the most reasonable explanation is not some intentional, devious game of thrones plot on her part, but rather she is aging and her memory is not nearly as sharp as it once was. She tells you one thing and tells another person something contrary and given a short term memory issue is being sincere, not manipulative.

Given there are 5 of you and it sounds like you all recognize she says one thing to one of you and another thing to another, why would the conclusion be that she is being intentionally manipulative? When she was 50 or 60 was she manipulative and controlling? It doesn’t sound like it, rather it sounds like this is a relatively new development.

So is this new or has she always been manipulative?
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#8

Postby Ruthym » Wed Oct 25, 2017 4:44 pm

She has always done it, and at times she has found it humorous. I'm just curious as to why a parent would do this and the psychology behind it ? Legality wise we are in contact with her solicitor to ensure that her decisions aren't questionable, keeping in mind her age etc and yes her witness is credible.
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#9

Postby Richard@DecisionSkills » Wed Oct 25, 2017 5:27 pm

Ruthym wrote:She has always done it, and at times she has found it humorous. I'm just curious as to why a parent would do this and the psychology behind it ? Legality wise we are in contact with her solicitor to ensure that her decisions aren't questionable, keeping in mind her age etc and yes her witness is credible.


Okay, the picture is a bit more clear. I think where I may have been unclear is in your first post you discussed her aging mental capacity as not being a factor, which I implied to mean her mental state was something you had considered as a possible reason for recent behaviors and had since dismissed. Maybe I read into what you were trying to say.

If she has always done it, then her age/mental capacity are irrelevant details. This was something I probably read into the initial post.

Having a long history of this behavior, there are multiple potential motivations for a person to behave this way. I don’t want to get too simplistic, but human action theory describes all, 100% of behavior as being driven by the desire to remove discomfort, the converse being to seek comfort. This follows similar theoretical dichotomies such as pleasure/pain. Fear is uncomfortable, so she removes this fear by seeking comfort in various forms.

A key then is to figure out what it is that she fears, what makes her uncomfortable? There are certain things that trigger this discomfort and she responds via how she learned to cope decades ago, using manipulation to regain comfort, to regain or solidify her perception of being in control.

Maybe she fears being left alone, maybe she fears being unloved, maybe she fears losing her freedom, maybe she fears losing control of a daughter. It can be a combination of multiple fears. And I’m not saying all fears or discomforts that trigger these manipulative coping mechanisms are rational. Her fears might be unjustified, but that doesn’t necessarily matter.

The bottom line, there is pretty much no way of knowing the specific underlying fears she might have or what and/or when these fears trigger the manipulative coping mechanisms. It does seem like issues about her legal rights and her assets are some form of trigger, meaning she may fear death and the loss of things like furniture. She isn’t ready to give up and determine who gets what when she dies. That is a fear and it triggers the manipulation.

For your part in all of this, given you are aware she has manipulated for decades, all you can do is recognize that her motivation is driven by some underlying discomforts/fears that when triggered results in behaviors that resemble seeking to gain control/power.
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#10

Postby Ruthym » Wed Oct 25, 2017 5:34 pm

Thank you Richard, I'm sorry for not being clearer in my original post. Your explanation makes sense, and has given me some perspective on this now, thank you for taking the time to respond. Take care Ruthym
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#11

Postby HumanB » Fri Oct 27, 2017 3:32 am

Clearly the 'legalities' is an important issue for you. It wouldn't be if you were already trusting and cohesive with your sisters about what will happen (to your mother's estate) when your mother dies. You should be honest about that issue (with your sisters) rather than blame tensions all on your mother.

Your mother likely picks up on your conflicts and finds herself in difficult positions where she wishes to please whomever it is that is pressuring her in any particular moment. That's why she may say one thing one moment to one daughter ("yes you can have this bit of furniture"),  and another thing another moment to another daughter. Sure that's a weakness on her part,  but not necessarily malicious, and perfectly understandable at 79.
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#12

Postby Wombat7777 » Fri Nov 03, 2017 12:53 pm

Divisive behaviour is a form of messing you up.

Its a divide and conquor / control technique that needs to be confronted very firmly and lovingly, but leaving her in no doubt its just not on. Its also a form of abuse - she plays on your love for her to exact a form of abuse...which is plain messed up.

My own mother is intelligent but people dumb, and it makes her a danger to family harmony. The less you tell her about anything, the less you can be manipulated. She clealry loves creating drama because she loves the power it gives her. Shes smart enough to know what she is doing is wrong, but keeps doing it....what would you call that?

If you have to rip her verbally - do it. Why should you have to be a kicked dog all you life? If it happened in the work place they'd be out the door.....

It doesnt have to be loud or unpleasant, you just have to draw a line in the sand and gently tell her to just knock it off.

And you have to forgive her so you can move on.
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