Advice for dealing with my mother

Been considering this post for years really…

But, my mother has become increasingly racist/xenophobic over recent years and at some point i’m going to have to say something… (UK media most of the problem)

Some background: we’re in the UK, my dad died of cancer ~6years ago.
My brother has moved out.
I’m 42. At this point kinda given up on the whole dating thing. So looking after mum and still living with her.

But at some point i’m going to need to confront the racism/xenophobia…

I’m living with her and she 100% relies on me now. So consider that…

But apart from blowing up at her when i get pushed too far, any suggestions?


I don’t have any advice for confrontation it just pretty much always goes bad ime but also can’t always be avoided either. But maybe find time for yourself, could be dating, but also just like time away that’s just for yourself that takes you outside of the relationship with her. I think sometimes people becoming more isolated and dependent are more prone to the fear based hate and often lash out at the people caring for them.

The stronger your support for yourself is the easier it will be to cope.


Is there some way you can bring it up gently? Like, maybe sitting around at dinner, you can tell her how upsetting you find some of the things that she says and why you feel that way?

Meme Reaction GIF by Robert E Blackmon

However you handle it, certainly take time for yourself.


I agree with the above.

One piece of advice which I received several times (under very different circumstances) is that I can try to think about difficulties and problems and ask myself for a solution I would give to a close friend if they were affected and asking for advice.

This approach needs training. And the advice I give myself should be constructive, and empathetic, people keep telling me. Self-empathy is important.

Also, finding out about why your mom (re)acts that way and articulating your own feelings (as @Mindysan33 says, gently) might help. I also am under the same impression as @TornPaperNapkin: people who feel (e.g.)
isolation, alienation, loneliness or dependency tend to start lashing out at others.

In case of some family members I made the experience that first, they verbally lashed out against others far outside of their influence - e.g., by xenophobic or misogynistic remarks. When challenged, they retaliated and also attacked those who were close to them, and cared for them. I also observed the same with mental and bodily decline (cases in question: Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, cancer), but maybe - just maybe - progressing age is enough of a burden to feel overwhelmed enough to attack the ones you are closest to.

Empathy might be the best advice. I’m working on it, personally, and still try to respect my own red lines in the process.
All the best to you.


It depends on what your goal is-if you want to try to change her mind Beau of the Fifth Column on you tube has some good videos in a series called “how to ruin thanksgiving dinner” that tackle ways to talk with people and show them where their ideas fail. If you don’t think that’s possible and you just don’t want to listen to her comments, trying leaving the room when she starts up. Also, if there is memory loss or cognitive decline involved letting it wash over you with random noises once in a while may be all you can do.


I found my “previous generation relative” was genuinely surprised when we carefully challenged him on various biases in his proclamations. It helped to use something fact-based, like “I’m not talking about a woman who sweet-talked some state worker into giving her a few thousand dollars of fraudulent benefits in the 1970s, I’m talking about Lee Iaccoca and Chrysler taking billions of dollars in a bailout last year, a theft that is literally 10,000 times bigger. It has nothing to do with the color of anyone’s skin, it’s that some people are thieves who steal from all of us, and there are much worse people than those your news station tells you about.”

It turned out that if he ran his mouth unchecked he’d continue to say whatever awful things he could imagine (or parrot from a biased news source), but when he realized that we didn’t share them because we knew they weren’t true or pointed out the biases weren’t relevant, he tried in his own way to moderate his responses after that.

There were other common sense ways we took care during the challenges. We normally wouldn’t challenge him in front of the family or in a group, only mention it in private later. But sometimes we would immediately need to say something like “We don’t use that language in front of the kids.” We always kept it respectful; it was never shouting or “you’re listening to an idiot on the radio”. By keeping it civil, he in turn kept his behavior civil.

Did it change him? He was a lot more pleasant to be around when he wasn’t tossing out biases. And it lasted until he passed away nearly a decade ago. And that’s probably the best we could hope for.


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