Our expert says:
I know what you mean. An older generation than ours placed great emphasis on being self-sufficient, on " if you can't afford it --- don't have it ", and on a complex acounting of who owes who what. You could NOT acept an invitation to dinner from a couple if you couldn't afford to entertain them in return --- at the same level of cost.
Some people find it hard to give affection, or to show it in any obvious way. They may express love in concrete ways --- in things they can do for you, rather than in what they say. And the way you describe your mother's past, fits well with how you describe her behaviour. And she's a bit old to make majo changes in her assumptions about life.
Are there ways to make her feel more useful to you ? Are there things she could do for you ? Such as constructing in writing a family history, as far back as she knows or can re-discover ; collecting and assemlbnl;ing family photos and annotating them ( I find, since my own mother's death, a treasure trove of family pictures dating back into the 1800's, but almost all without notes of who they are ! I wish we'd had the time for me to find them and discuss them with her, to understand their full importance. I'm sure you can think of other things she can do, which will have obvious value, use her strengths, and allow you to pay the expenses, or some allowance for all the time she would have to put into the tasks.
And why is all the talk in your message aout HER not visiting you ? Can't you visit her ?
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