Help! Need advice. Need to vent. New here. My situation is unlivable.

Started by

Hi everyone. My mother moved in with me 30 years ago when my parents divorced. I have 2 brothers who don't lift a finger and I'm sick of it. Things got worse when my mother's companion lost his arm in an accident 27 years ago and he moved in with me as well because his kids don't lift a finger to help, either. It was supposed to be a TEMPORARY situation. Now they are both elderly with multiple health issues, I get NO HELP from ANYONE, the families are totally taking advantage of me, I'm becoming very resentful, and I'm stressed to the max. AND I HAVE NO LIFE! My mother has Menieres, thyroid issues, recurring cellulitis, carpal tunnel, and we're doing more diagnostics for other things. Her companion has diabetes, high blood pressure and cholesterol, IBSD, labyrinthitis, supinated feet, he can hardly walk and he refuses to use his cane or walker, he's disabled, going blind in one eye, and his doctor wants to send him to a neurologist to see if he has beginning dementia. He rarely showers (maybe once every 2-3 weeks) or brushes his teeth or shaves. Also, he was supposed to have back surgery many years ago, but he's stubborn and angry and cantankerous and he fights with the doctors and refuses to have the MRI and surgery. He believes his doctors are trying to hurt him and take his money. His doc said he would be paralyzed without the surgery, and he could be paralyzed after the surgery. Instead, he took Hydrocodone for years for the pain, then he wanted more, so his doctor prescribed morphine which he's been taking for the past 3 years! He eats tortillas and candy all day and doesn't follow his diabetic diet, even though I make nutritious meals for both of them every day. His kids never return my calls or visit or help. My brothers have stopped replying to my texts and calls and are too busy traveling and partying and having charmed lives, and nobody seems to care! My mother and her companion go through my mail, listen in on my phone calls, spy out the window if I go anywhere or get picked up, they gang up on me and take jabs daily almost like they're tag teaming on me, they monitor everything I do like I'm 12 years old. My mother sits at the kitchen table on her laptop and has 2 Facebook accounts and is on Facebook 10+ hours a day, while her companion sits in front of her in his recliner chair all day and they watch the same annoying game shows and talk shows all day and hog up my family room and kitchen. If I go out, mom texts and calls non-stop. She gets fungal infections on her back because she sits on her computer chair all day. They've scared away all of my friends and boyfriends. Everyone refuses to come over because the two of them have cussed everyone out, made them feel unwelcome, uncomfortable, make them leave, and they make fun of everyone. So I can't even have visitors! It's almost like they're trying to isolate me. I have taken both of them to the ER so many times that I've lost count. I got tired of nagging them to remember their pills, remember to eat, remember their appts, remember to get up and walk around, etc. They get angry at me and tell me to leave them alone and arguments ensue. So I bought an Amazon Alexa and set up all of the reminders every hour of every day. It took me a long time to do that. Then they unplugged it!! Made me so upset! I nag them constantly to get going on their health issues. The more I nag, the more they resist me and arguments ensue and I get blamed for everything, the more I call my brothers and mom's companion's kids out of frustration and desperation, the more everyone ignores me. My friend is a psychologist and she said they are being very manipulative. She said they're enmeshed, codependent, and enabling each other. She also said they're using a maneuver called "splitting" (I had to Google all of this stuff!) It's enough that I've been taking care of my mother all these years with all of her health issues. But I can no longer care for him, especially with his worsening health issues, and he's not even related to me. And he's grumpy, he breaks things all the time, he leaves faucets running, leaves the stove burners on, leaves gates open, occasionally drops his pills on the floor and I've had to have my dogs' stomachs pumped twice already. My mother ALWAYS takes his side! I have to "sweep" my house before I go to bed to make sure it's safe. I'm putting locks on all of the gates and trying to "baby proof" the house. Every helpful suggestion I've made gets shut down and they yell at me. They blame me for everything that goes wrong. They placate me, make promises, then they fall back into their comfortable and unhealthy patterns. My friends are fed up. I'm exhausted. I've helped them and been there for them through everything. I'm not even legally anyone's caregiver. I asked a friend to help me find a mother in law attachment in town so I can take a break and get off of this "spinning teacups ride!" I want to take my dogs and leave, and let these two suss it out.


This is your home, or theirs?
Do they pay rent?
Does eviction sound like a possibility?
Bumping this up for more advice for you; also, hoping that you'll come back and let us know how you are getting on.
You've taken your time, haven't you? 27 years before you finally decide you've had enough of this?

So what has happened that has brought you to the end of your tether? - And how old are all the parties concerned?

Please don't misunderstand, I am cheering loudly for you that you have decided things must change. It's just that this is definitely not before time! And people will be able to make more practical suggestions if we understand what the situation is right now.

I echo CM's questions. If this has been going on for almost 3 decades, there are so many complications, enmeshed behavior, enabling, and dysfunctional relationships in place that need to be addressed.

However, the center of the issue is you, and you're the only one who can change things, such as refusing to continue in this situation any more.

If your mother and the male friend don't have funds, tell them to apply for Medicaid and find new homes. And stick to it - that won't be easy. But you've got to get them out of your house, and perhaps even your life.

There's a similar situation of an abused woman asking for help in this thread:

It would be helpful to read the entire thread, her plea for help, justification for her tolerance and eventual recognition that she's the only one who can change things.

You might also consider getting APS involved to help find placements for them.

One thing is for sure: as long as they're there, you're going to be miserable. Or sick, or sicker, or dead - all before your time.

I think you also could benefit from therapy to address your own enabling behavior.

I'm not being blunt to be cruel, but I do think it's necessary to be able to see this very abusive situation for what it is. These people make Cinderella's stepsisters and cruel mother look like angels.
Your brothers, your mother's companion's kids, and your friends have ALL stopped taking your calls.
The only constant in all these scenarios is yourself.

For that reason, I doubt you have taken anyone's advice to leave.

ShiTzuMama,  Take your dogs with you.
The next time they have to go to the Er,, leave them, don't take them back and make it clear you can not take care of them. 30 years is long enough, and you say it is your house! And stop reminding them of everything ( pills etc) let the chips fall where they may, Sounds like time to take a stand and get on with your life. Reconnect with your friends.. good luck!
Thank you all for the feed back. Their ages are 75 and 78.

And please don't judge me, I feel terrible enough about all of this as it is.

My aunt took care of my grandparents for 15 years (Parkinson's, cancer, stroke, paralysis, multiple health issues). It almost destroyed her! They were mean to her and manipulated her, despite all of her sacrifice and caregiving. She had no life. Her health is bad now. She went through what I'm going through. I've heard many similar stories. So I'm not the first one to go through this, and I'm definitely not the last!

@Sendhelp -- no one has given me advice to leave!! It's my house! What my family and his family have been doing all along is using me as a dumping ground, and not taking my calls because they don't want their charmed fun filled stress free lives affected! They'd rather I do all the grunt work for their parents! I hear that this is very common, unfortunately.

Choosing to leave was MY DECISION because all other options have failed!!

This was supposed to be a temporary situation. I've been trying to get both of them out for many years. There's always a health crisis that prevents this, and multiple ER visits, rehab, everybody gets involved and all of the pressure is on me all over again, and the cycle continues. They both have been very sickly for a very long time!

I've been at the end of my tether for a long time, and especially the last 2 years. I don't have any allies. I didn't know until recently about my legal rights, and all of these resources. I have been seeing a counselor because I'm so miserable with this set up. I got a few phone numbers and websites from this counselor.

There have been several catalysts -- broken engagements, worsening and scary health issues that they refuse to address, mental changes/depression/early dementia which is unsafe for everyone, friends pressuring me, my own health issues from the stress

In my last 2 sentences, I wrote that I have a friend actively helping me look for a place to stay in town WITH MY DOGS so I can get out of here while these two suss it out. We are hoping to find something in the next week. It's not easy moving out of your OWN HOUSE and taking multiple dogs (many places don't allow dogs or only allow 1-2), and leaving these two alone! It's terrifying! And it's ridiculous!

I also have a charity coming tomorrow to take MY furniture that's been in his bedroom for donation because the house is so cluttered with his stuff. He is a hoarder, he orders crap off of HSN and the Internet and packages arrive almost daily full of more junk. Not to mention he pays for two storage facilities that are full of gadgets and stuff he buys off of the Internet. I can hardly walk in his bedroom it's piled high with boxes and a lot of stuff...

I don't even know where to start as far as evaluating and assessing who for what?! I doubt my mother qualifies for assisted living, but if and when all of these appts and tests are completed, I'd imagine that mom's companion qualifies. He's a mess.

I have vacation time coming up. I told my mother that I'm sick of this set up, I warned her that I'm looking for a place to stay and she needs to make arrangements for her and her companion, I need a break, and I'm taking my dogs. She got so upset that she threatened to call the SPCA on me! WTH?! Why would she say that? My dogs are my babies and are pampered to the hilt! Is she purposely trying to ruin my life? Is this the manipulative maneuvering that aging parents do when they want their way and don't want change? Is this typical?

My mother falls apart any time I mention sending her companion somewhere else. They've been together a long time. And when I mention taking my dogs and leaving, she falls apart. It really does break my heart! They have this idea that "the family mobile" can stay together forever. I've suggested a counselor or therapy for all of us to find a solution. They placate me then sweep it under the rug. And nothing ever gets done.

Everybody pays/contributes. And they pay for their own extras (all the movie channels they want, etc).

My current boyfriend is ready to jump ship as well. He's sick and tired of being cussed out by these two, no privacy, he feels unwelcome, their never ending health crises cause us to cancel plans a lot, and he doesn't want to move into this mess. It's extremely difficult to have a relationship with a parent plus one living here.

I don't know where to send them? No one will take them in.
Next time either one or each one goes to the ER stay strong & refuse to take them back into your HOME! Social services will find them someplace to live. You've done more than your share.
Find a lawyer and start eviction proceedings. You don't have to tell anybody anything. Let the sheriff serves papers on them and GET THEM OUT before caring for them KILLS YOU!

Your mother and her companion are mentally ill. They need professional care. Your mother is using Fear, Obligation and Guilt (FOG) to manipulate you.

Don't fall for it.

Keep the conversation going (or start a new one)

Please enter your Comment

Ask a Question

Reach thousands of elder care experts and family caregivers
Get answers in 10 minutes or less
Receive personalized caregiving advice and support