Mother guilt trips


My parents divorced when I was a kid and my brother and I flew back and forth between states to see them. There was always alot of arguing and a stepmother who didn’t enjoy having to parent another woman’s kids. As a result, I took on this role of always being the mediator, always trying to make everyone else happy, and calm them down and stop the arguing and protect my brother as best as I could from all the sadness and conflict. I’m struggling as an adult to overcome this because some people, like my mother, know this about me and will use it to try to control my reactions.

Now many years later my mother is in her 3rd marriage and desperately unhappy but won’t leave because she doesn’t want to be 3 times divorced. She is very needy and takes out her unhappiness on me by continually making snarky remarks about how I don’t spend enough time with her or call her or bemoaning that my brother won’t call her (because he doesn’t put up with her guilt trips for one minute). I love her. I take her on trips with me. I even give her some fun money to spend each month because she put me through school and my business is doing well and I want to do nice things for her in return. I want her to be happy, but when I call her, it’s a one-way conversation where I just sit and listen to a river of misery come out of her which she won’t do anything to change but will try to make me feel bad for not doing more for her. I’m trying to remember just to love her, as Brooke says, but I have a really hard time not giving in to feeling guilty. I’ve tried to set a boundary that when she does this I’m not going to give in to her drama anymore and will just politely tell her I must go, but she knows that it works and that I will stew over it and ultimately come back around and try to give her more attention. I’m not sure how to break out of the cycle and stop making myself feel guilty because of things I think about what she said.

Model:
C: Mother made a guilt-loaded comment
T:
F: Guilty
A: do things to try to appease her
R: ultimately unhappy with our relationship

I’m trying to get to this model but somewhere there is a misfire:
C: Mother
T: She is miserable
F: compassion
A: just love her
R: I feel better (except that I don’t because I keep giving in to the guilty thoughts that she KNOWS I will think when she makes the statements she does)

Help?