My mother is a coward as well as a bully. When I was younger she used to openly criticise me for anything and everything. Now she pretends that a neighbour or a friend has told her something negative about me and feels she has to tell me the truth.
I don’t believe her when she says a neighbour called me selfish by not emptying the car of shopping when I pop round. That I always wear casual clothes, that I used to be good looking as a child but now I’ve started losing my hair I’m far from handsome. No neighbour or decent friend would be that interested in me or so rude about me to my mother. What would be in it for them? Of course even if they did say something unpleasant she didn’t have to tell me.
Much more likely is that she behaves as she does because I am 6ft 2in tall and a black belt in karate. She wouldn’t want to risk me knocking her over, which of course I would never do however much I felt like it. I can see right through her, and blaming neighbours or friends enables her to be spiteful without accepting responsibility for what she is saying.
Most of the time I don’t think about it. I just pop round every couple of weeks to do what I feel is my duty and get on with my life in my own way.
But what makes someone like that?
You deserve a medal for continuing to be kind to your mother when she behaves so badly.
You are probably right that it is cowardly of her to blame a neighbour, but it is it is quite a common scenario. It gives the individual the opportunity to set up a potential row then step back. This way your mother can fearlessly make any toxic comments she likes, as you cannot blame her directly. Sometimes people behave as she does because they do not have the skills to handle any response that might be made, especially if the individual is more articulately than her.
You could call her bluff and tell her that you will take this up with the neighbour or friend, but it is likely that she will have thought this through and have an excuse why they are not available. You could also say that the person can’t be much of a friend to be so rude about you to her, but that also sounds defensive. You have chosen as more dignified position.
It is interesting to read that you see your height and karate skills as protection and that she maybe frightened of your strength. Without threatening her this may be a useful position to hold with her.
If you ever get to the point of considering stepping back from your commitments no-one would blame you.