Hi Brooke,
I am really struggling with a boundary issue with my mother. Basically, my mother is pretty unwell with a thyroid condition, mobility issues and also pain management. My siblings all find her pretty challenging in that she tends to have a melt down every year about something with one of us and then it blows out for a really long time.

Usually it’s some imagined slight. Right now she’s not speaking to my brother who has two little children she is missing out on seeing for the whole year since the argument. My parents have a history of not talking to me for years at a time when I put boundaries in place. For example when I said i didn’t want her in the delivery room .. just me and my husband, they were cold to me for a couple of years. it’s how they roll. I actually enjoyed the break from the drama though it doesn’t feel great. Anyway when i go visit them now usually it’s for a few days and I can let everything wash over me. Just think they are just doing what they do like dogs barking and honestly it doesn’t bother me in the least. When she’s really dramatic I just think ‘she’s happy like this’ she’s had every choice in the world to not believe her thoughts and she’s happy like this. I know it sounds cold but it actually makes me calm and kind around her. Anyway this year she was on fire because she is so unwell and we stayed 7 days at her home.

I started going into old childhood patterns and getting really angry as she got hysterical about photos, the suitation with the the sibling she isn’t talking to, complaining about him endlessly and I just went into a stress attack of literally shaking and reacting to her which is a big mistake. so I am trying to work out a boundary around this because I don’t think I have the mental stamina to do 7 days of being zen. I can do probably about 4. I came back a wreck and I think I need more of a rest at Christmas. We have been going to stay with her for a week at her house for Christmas every year adn there’s always some major drama and tension although it’s very nice as well.

One year they were screaming their heads off at each other so that my kids were in a bedroom so they didn’t hear. They swear and scream. Now as I read this it becomes pretty clear that I need a boundary. Anyway, so I was thinking I don’t say anything at all to them about it and next year i just say as the kids are older we are going to spend some of the time doing camping and theme parks as well when we come to visit. Should I say to her that I find it too stressful to stay all the time for 7 days straight, or just arrange it like that? I used to think there would be potential for a dialogue but now I see that they are really just kind of crazy. This is the one area I really struggle with because it’s family.
Thanks for all you do!