Nasty mum is driving us all away - Relationship advice
Fiona Caine, a trained counsellor, gives advice on family matters
Q. When my father died, my mother moved nearer to me so I could keep an eye on her. She found a small flat nearby but spends nearly all her time at my house. It is so difficult.
She does little to help but criticises everything I do. She finds fault with my home, my family, the food I provide and how I prepare it. She expects me to run all sorts of errands for her, even though I have a family and a busy part-time job.
My family are staying away from home to avoid her.
A. If she wasn't this way before your father’s death, the most likely cause is that she is missing him badly. Strangely, this may explain why she seems to resent you and target you for criticism. But she can't be allowed to carry on like this.
Find a way to talk with her quietly and explain her rudeness and constant criticism is unfair.
Tell her that you love her and still want to see her, but that this behaviour must stop.
Ask her to contact Cruse Bereavement Care (cruse.org.uk).
Q. My fiance was in a nasty accident a few months back. He was lucky to survive and after a few surgeries and many weeks of physio, things are looking up.
However, his mother's attitude to me has changed dramatically. She cuts me out of most conversations and makes it clear that she doesn't want me around. Despite this I have tried to stay friendly for the sake of my fiance.
What can I do? I wish I knew what I'd done to upset her.
A. If your relationship was fine before the accident, I suspect you've done nothing to upset her, except perhaps be the next thing to take her son away.
That may seem extreme but she has probably been badly shaken and her fear of losing him is making her see you as a threat.
Give her more time to see that you love her son and that, no matter what, you intend to stay with him.
As his recovery continues, and you stick by him, she should relax and no longer see you as a threat.