Sometimes family patterns become so set that we no longer challenge them, says Annalisa Barbieri. I wonder if there might be a conversation to be had
I love my mother most of the time, but sometimes I hate her. She has always been critical of me; it’s as if she has to find fault (with my hair, my clothes, the way I do things). My brother is spared this criticism.
My mum is in her late 70s, and unlikely to change. It’s never worth arguing with her – especially now, as she is grieving and vulnerable following the death of my father last year. I suppress my anger, keep quiet and change the subject. I call and visit often, as I now have to help her with legal and financial affairs; my brother lives abroad and this isn’t his skill set. Mum lives in a different part of the country from me, and it’s not practical to go just for the day, so I am very much on her turf when I visit; if I don’t do things the way she wants, there is an explosion. She then seems to recognise that she has gone over the top and sends sweet emails a day or two later about how capable I am.