leggo, it sounds like it's probably time for you to stop caring what she thinks of you. Or to find some other way to do less interacting with her. Be proud of yourself if you can defend your phone line against her - not even hear the phone ring when it's her would be best. If the cars she sends have guilt trips in them, tack all the cards she sends in a bag and look at it once a year - or decide you're only going to look at every 6th one, and judiciously throw out all the others. Spend MORE of your day with positive thoughts than negative thoughts, with people who like or love you. You can initiate contact when it's right for you.
Funny thing - my mother never seemed to like me, so I finally stopped giving a sh*t - I just gave up after a few decades of trying to get her to like me - and that made me nicer somehow, and she started to like me. Weird. Of course, we continued to live 3000 miles apart, so I didn't strain her new-found affection much with the reality of me. (Affection is probably too strong a word.)
I started visiting her more over the last 5 years (more meaning 3 or 4 times in 5 years....the last visit was a long one, 7 weeks when my dad died). With the distance gained by my own semi-advanced years, I could see clearly on these visits how outrageously self-centered she is. Appallingly so. And at the same time, she desperately tries to be "good", and hates herself for not being loving enough. What a mess! My oldest son saw right through her with his usual instant, bang-on perceptivity - how she played or tried to play emotional games with us all. As one of her children, I was still somewhat susceptible to her emotional blackmail, but my son was immune.
That all was changing even as I was observing it, as Dad's strokes and her own advancing dementia take their toll on her mental acuity. It is very painful to watch a self-centered person develop dementia. We still live apart, so there are lots of emails. My brother is cut off, for reasons unknown - Mom doesn't trust his wife, Mom thinks he's cheap - but my sister and I were getting 8 to 20 emails a day from her. I skimmed them and sent 3 or 4 replies, but my poor sister reads and replies to each one, and sends news of her busy day - hoping Mom will understand not to send so many emails, but of course mom doesn't get it. Now suddenly I'm cut off too, and I wonder why - and this is one of her tactics. She may not realize she's doing it, but she wants me to feel hurt and to ponder whatever sin I committed that she is punishing me for. Not that I know what it is. (Because I suggested that she call the real estate guy to look at her house? Suggested that she send 3 emails a day instead of 20?) I am happy to get less, but now I have to ask my sister for updates to ensure that mom is still ok.
Beth - Wishing you a restful sleep tonight
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