I’m at the end of my rope, any advice on how to either keep my mother or my head glued on.

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Well, my sister just sent me the link to this site. I was amazed at some of what I read. It's nice to know I'm not alone in my struggles.

I have a mother that is relatively young (68), legally blind and diabetic. I moved her from San Antonio to my town in Missouri last year so that I could help her get her life back in order. I had been financing her life for the 7 or so months prior to the move (rent, food, etc.), paid for her bankruptcy (her 3rd, mind you), moving expenses, blah blah blah. It had grown to an insane amount of money in a very short period of time. I figured that it was better to move her up here where I could help keep an eye on her spending, her health, and all the rest. I was WRONG.

She lived with me the first two months, and the fact that one of us isn't buried in my back yard is a miracle. She has, in the span of a year and a half, taxed my emotional health and finances to the point that I'm about ready to divorce her, so to speak. There are never any sincere thank you's from her, no attempts on her part to either be more responsible with her money or to take better care of her health... and if I try to prod her in the right direction in either area, I am locked in combat with a woman who uses guilt trips and verbal abuse as a means to ending an argument that she can't win in any other way. She is constantly angry, self-pitying, selfish, and demanding. She expects me to spend my time, no matter what, taking her on whatever errands she needs to run, even though the Area Agency on Aging has told her repeatedly that they will provide her with free taxi vouchers to take her to whatever 'necessary' (they qualified this as grocery store, doctor, social security office, etc.) errands she needs to run. But she told me point blank that I'm her daughter and that's what I'm there for... that she shouldn't have to do things on her own just to 'make my life easier'. She destroyed the carpet in my guestroom when she was here for two months (brand new house) and feels no guilt about it at all.

I've got a lot of old anger issues with my mother, most regarding things that she put me through when I was growing up (physical, verbal, emotional abuse... neglect... blah blah blah), but I've still tried to do the right thing and care for her as well as I could. But that being said, I don't know how much longer I can continue having her in my life when she just seems intent on sucking me both financially and emotionally dry. Up until two months ago, I was still paying her rent every month at her apartment, buying her groceries, etc., and then found out that while I'm doing all that because she's 'broke', she was buying out QVC and sees nothing wrong with it. She refuses to manage her diabetes the way she's supposed to, eating a half-gallon of ice cream at a time and then going off on me when I tell her I'm concerned about her health and don't want her to eat that way. I get the same reaction when I tell her I want to help her clean up her space (she lives in filth and an unbelievable amount of clutter. Seriously unbelievable.) so that she can be happy and healthy. She's on all kinds of medication for her heart, her diabetes, her migraines, etc., but my sympathy is almost completely used up because so many of these issues are issues she wouldn't have, or not to the degree she does, if she'd just LISTEN and take care of herself.


I'm really sorry to go on like this, but I just don't know what to do. I feel guilty if I leave her to her own devices, but it honestly feels like she's killing me bit by bit every day. When confronted, she plays up the 'everyone's picking on me' angle, since she thrives on being the victim. She lies to everyone, she... God, what am I going to do? I don't want to hate her, but I'm afraid that that's what I'm going to be left with if something doesn't change. I have two siblings, one who tries to help as and when she can and one that does absolutely nothing. The one that does nothing? Mom still defends and dotes on HER. Isn't that always the way?

Any advice at all on how to either help my mother or keep my head glued on would be most welcome. Again, sorry for the length of my post.


Dear Dear Nola, whew! Has your Mom been diagnosed with any dementia? It sounds like she may have some. She sounds a lot like my Dad, who has dementia before he was diagnosed, and before I suspected his having it. You are an angel to do for your mother the way you have, and don't feel guilty for the feelings you are having. All of us here have exactly the same feelings and issues as you. If she doesn't have any dementia (sounds like she does though) then she is on the path to self destruction. It may make things more complicated, but it might stop the progress of self destruction. You could file a complaint with social services, of self neglect, there is such a thing, as far as health, finances, personal safety, etc. Good Luck, and let us know how things are going. Praying for you, nauseated
Thank you for the concern and kind thoughts. No, Mom hasn't been diagnosed with dementia. The sad thing is, she's been like this, for the most part, all her life. Sure, it's gotten worse in the past 5 or 10 years, but by and large this is an ongoing problem.

I had no idea there was a 'self neglect' issue that could be raised with social services. I'll definitely look into that.

Thanks again :)
Wow, your situation sounds exactly like mine. I have Durable Power of Attorney and I had to get a letter from my Mom's doctor stating that she could no longer handle her finances in order to become the Representative Payee for her social security check. I now have control of her finances, pay her bills, etc.

You may want to think about doing that. Also, if you can't take anymore, you may want to put her in an Assisted Living Facility. Medicaid will pick up the balance of the tab if her income isn't enough. Call your local Department of Family Services for help or the people at the assisted living facility can give you more information.
I too have recently been given guardianship/conservatorship, this makes things a lot less complicated for all involved. I have been finding out that most of these issues I have had to resolve on my own. Everytime I tried to get help from others it either took too long, or they did not follow through on what they said they were going to do, so I have been doing EVERYTHING on my own, it's faster, and you learn more about how things work. Nauseated
Hi Nola,

Your mother may have a personality disorder like Narcissistic Personality Disorder. Check out Karyl McBride's new book Will I Ever Be Good Enough?

I am working on the theory that my mother suffers from NPD. Unfortunately there is no way to treat it. Over the last 5 years of "caring" for my mother, I have learned to take care of myself and limit my interaction with my mother so that I only help her with her aging issues and not her mental disorder.
Yes, their issues are multi-layered at times, aren't they. Regardless of how they're labeled, oftentimes, our loved ones need our help. It is noble and honorable to step in, even against their protests. They don't always recognize their own needs. You ladies and gentlemen are heroes! As you step into the caregiving role, be firm but gentle, loving, and full of grace and mercy. It's a calling, and God doesn't call the equipped, but equips the called. Serve faithfully, knowing that you are doing what's right. And don't forget to take care of yourselves, as well. Blessings, all!
I also know that God already knows that we are equipped to handle the job, and that's why we have the job. It only makes us stronger.
nola, you are NOT alone. i have the exact same issues with my mom. i do hate her now. she has been here for 11 monhts, and i have had zero help outside of baths from hospic's. and if i hear one more time that i am doing a noble and honorable thing again from anyone i will scream. i do not want to this anymore. especailly after doing all i have for 11 months with someone telling you, you don't do anything for me, you are spending all my money, ( she never had any) it was spent on cigrettes and chips. and used clothes from amvets..i promised my father but this is not what i thought it would be. i too have spent so much money and time on her and she gets pissed and throws things at me, or hits me, or tries to bite me. she is a she devil..
Dear Joyd, I am sorry. No disrespect. I understand your feelings. I am glad you found a safe place to vent. I, too, feel like quitting some days. But my Mom needs me, even though she hates becoming dependent on my help. She sent me a birthday card last week saying she didn't want to be my dependent and knows I don't like helping her. I have compassion for her, but not always warm fuzzies, if you get my drift... It's hard; terribly hard to help a whining, angry, bitter, cantankerous person; especially my Mom who was often mean, when I needed love. I want to quit some days (like yesterday), but I don't trust my sibling. And she only comes around at her convenience. I resent my life going away, but I am now a servant to Mom. Some day my son will be mine, if I live long enough. I could hire caregivers for Mom, but I'd have to watch them. I feel for you. I hope you can get some help. You sound tired, Joyd. Thanks for sharing your struggles with us. I hope it helps to vent, and pray things get better for you.
I feel that each one of us knows when it's time to place our parents. I don't think it's fair that our lives have to be put on hold to deal with such abuse. This is why me and my husband have invested in purchasing long term care insurance, because I don't want my children to have to take care of us.

I believe that when it gets to a specific point where we can't and don't want to deal with it anymore that it's time to place them in a home, go visit everyday, etc. As many of us get abused by our elderly parents and it's not right.

My Mom thinks I am her worse enemy and adores my two drug addict brothers. Go figure. My husband will be caring for her while I am at work. But, believe me, I'll know when it's time to place her and that's what I'll do without any guilt.

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