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As much as I love my parents, I can't stand their relationship and how it has affected me most of my life. As long as I can remember, my parents have argued, spoke ill of each other, I can remember Mom as always threatening to leave dad, I only wish she had,

As a child, I became withdrawn and depressed, they took me to a therapist and the therapist told them that THEY were the problem...they needed help not me. And here we are again 40 yrs later

Now that they are both unable to do for themselves they are in NH care and the same un-happy marriage went with them. Mom is acussing dad of all kinds of infedelity, mind you this 96 yr old man is immobilized and wheel char bound, has impaired speech, vision and hearing. Dad accuses mom of the same because she goes to activities and he refuses to go so she must be messing around.

The NH is calling me concerned about Mom's behavior, shes's back and forth at the desk complaining about Dad, then says they don't care if he kills her in her sleep.

Tomorrow, I will have a frank talk with the NH and explain that this is normal behavior for them, just more pronounced. Gesh, how true the saying about what goes on behind closed doors!

I am 5o yrs old and I am sick to the point of divorcing myself from this toxic relationship that i was born into; guess that's my curse but I'm ready to do the drastic act of parting emotional ties from my parents. I'll continue to take care of their modest expenses, visit when I want, bring goodies, heck I'm still good for a lunch or dinner date now and then but I no longer want to be "the responsible party"

Right now, I'm trying to get the courage up to announce and make the break, I know there will be guilt on both sides but, why should the rest of my life be controlled by some people who don't know and won't accept a happy, peaceful life
and me being the sacrificial lamb? And No, there is no one else who would dare step in to help out, it's just me!

Has anyone given up thir POA, or other responsibilities. I don't want to, I'm just tired of being used and apart of this toxicity.

Thank you all for helpful understanding advice.

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Hi Sumlerc,

My parents didn't like each other much either and they would each tell me bad things about the other. Now that I'm a parent myself - I realize what really bad parenting this was.

I was an only child - and felt like the peacemaker all the time. They told me numerous times that the only reason they stayed together was for me. I kept them entertained for most of my life.

So I kind of know how you feel. Kind of. My mom died several years ago and my father (90 and living with us) has NOTHING good to say about her.

I can't tell you what to do - but I have heard of people giving up the POA. If this is a route you want to consider, I would consult with an attorney or an attorney that specializes in elder law.

Good luck whatever you decide. I'm sure you are worn out with it all.
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Thank you all for your hugs and words of wisdom. In a short burst of " I'm fed up to here and I'm not going to take it anymore", one of the Nurses asked me to please find a little more patience while they work thru some of these incidences as mom as yet another UTI! and yes she taking Excelon for dementia. ( but she remembers every little detail of a "negative" occurance or some how turns it into a negative occurance) I love her, I just can't STAND the negative Nelly in her...and Nelly is taking over my mom!

I visited with mom and dad yesterday and I tell you it was like being the mediator between 2 kids. He/she said/did this or that, some of the accusations were real but somewhat blown out of porportion. There are 2 ladies that are affectionate towards dad and one lady came in the room, sat on his bed and laid her head on his chest. ( Mom explained it to me that the lady got in the bed with dad and blames him, how does the lady know where he lives unless he's had her over before??) too much, too much for me to deal with!

My mom is a passive control freak. She likes to make someone think they are in charge...yet she's pulling strings, manipulating the situation. Now that she has put me in charge as POA and the Nurses and Dr's are in charge of their care, she is pulling out all stops to include self pity in a situation by her own admittance is the best place for her and dad.

At this moment, I will not relinquish my POA, I can't leave them totally to sake of other's but I will draw more boundry lines of what I wil/not do! We had a very down right cut the non-sense out talk. Everytime mom barked on dad's behavior, I pointed her's out. Mom's feelings were so "hurt" because Dad said he was leaving her, I told her if she harked and barked on me 24/7 I'd want to leave to...as a matter of fact if you don't stop it, I'll leave now, I didn't come here for this on my day off! And how many times in the heat of the moment have I heard you tell dad you were leaving?? 67 yrs and nobody has left yet and nobody's leaving now so stopit with the pity party...I don't attend those!!

It's so hard to see anyone dwelling in the past, on negaitve energy when they've had so many good things to happen. I just want to be the bill payer, cookie maker, lunch taker all smiles girl that comes around spreading cheer.

I guess we are all here because we need an "out" if only for the moment. There is a special place in heaven for us all who are trying our hardest to do this right. I hope and pray that I do better by my daughter when my time comes. Better yet, I pray not to be around if I should become "that" person.

Thank you ALL for so much love, hope and support.
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aune - you are fortunate and I am so glad that your mum is benefiting from being with you. I like the phrase that crazy doesn't live here and that you set boundaries and they have been respected. My mother is the abusive one. My father drank (I think to escape the rage) but otherwise was a complete gentleman. Whatever boundaries I set become eroded very quickly so it is a continual battle to re establish them and that is exhausting. You would have to have dealt with a personality disorder or narcissism to understand that. They are wired differently and there is no treatment (drugs or therapy) that works very well with them. In any case my mother thinks she is right all the time and does not require to change or to observe the boundaries others set.
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I can understand completely. I saw a lot of that growing up & saw it with my mother in two marriages. I call it a rut. A rut is a coffin with the ends kicked out. Unfortunately, many people do not recognize that as unhealthy realtionship. They consider it normal & that is just the way life it is. When my mother became a widow & became ill, she was sent to a nursing home for rehab. I was surprised by little old ladies sitting by the nursing station fighting, screaming and cussing each other. I was concerned for my mom's safety & mental health. As I began talking to a nurse, they remembered my mother coming in to visit a lady who was her neighbor. The neighbor had been married to an alcoholic and an extremely abusive man. When I told the nurse that, she said unfortuantely that was the story of many of the women there. I remember growing in that town. It was a common thing for the guys to go out on Fri or Sat night & come home & beat up their wives. Cheat on them, whatever. It was a pretty ugly scene that many people lived with. That was just the way it was until the women's revolultion came along. Today there is a lot more intervention & help for families that want it. Including me and I sought help because I had no idea what "normal" was. But, you need not be embarrassed by their behavior. You didn't cause it. Pretty hard to tell someone very set in their ways that their thinking is wrong. It is now really up to the professionals to set boundaries & limits in their facility. My mother now lives with me but we set boundaries right away. I bless her, take good care or her , honor her & protect her. And she has a whole lot of freedom to be her and 89. However, I maintained this is my home & crazy doesn't live here. She has blossomed in the 5 years she has been here and is growing old with grace and dignity.
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Hi - I can identify with you. My mother has Borderline Personality Disorder - had it all her life and my father was an alcoholic. Our home was a war zone much of the time. My father died years ago and my mother at 99 is going strong and in an ALF. I am one of two children (both female) - my sister was the "golden haired girl" and I was the black sheep yet I was the one who helped all along and did not run to them for money. Mother is what I call a rage-o-holic and took her anger out on my father and me. When I was 40 I cut off all communication for a year as the negativity was too much. It helped me at the time but really did little to get my point across that the behaviour towards me was unacceptable. As my sister does not help, mother moved to be close to me about 15 years ago, but far enough away that it is a 5 hr drive for me to get there, so I have been doing care giving at a distance. I have PTSD from childhood experiences and recently that has been triggered off by increasing demands from mother. I have had over 20 emails in a day ( yes at 99 she used a computer) and she wants me involved with her every thought, asks me to help and then when I do rips a strip off me for not doing it right, when I don't I am a bad daughter and so on - it is always a lose-lose. Obviously she is highly manipulative. I have POA and am considering giving it up or delegating it if I can. All that is required is that some one who is responsible step in and take over the finances when needed. It does not have to be a family member and in this case (and possibly your case) it may be better it is some one out of the family, as less games can be played. Mother is all about control and pushing people's buttons. A non family member has less buttons to push. She is still competent to find some one else. If my sister has it, the money will go and mother knows that. So far, she can manage her finances herself, so giving me POA was a protective measure. I have no desire to take away her independence in any way as long as she is capable, but she behaves as if I am trying to do that. Frankly I have better things to do. In the last two months I have had to detach and distance myself as the pressure was getting to me - flashbacks etc. I have cut off almost all communication with my mother and all with my sister (who seems to have some of the same characteristics as my mother) for my self protection. I will do what is necessary to see that she has what she needs - but at arm's length. She does have a lady she hires to shop for her and help her in other ways and the staff at the ALF as well. Mother complained about the previous director of the ALF so much, she was replaced. Mother is very political and brings in government people, gets help from senior's organizations and so on if she doesn't like something. I am in communication with the lady who helps, with mother's financial advisor, and with a cousin's son who visits her occasionally. My health has been suffering over the past two years from the stress and I will not let that continue. I am 74 and what I could cope with in my 60's, I cannot in my 70's. I am beginning to feel that I can breathe again, but have lost well over a year of normal living to health issues from which I am still recovering, and retired from a job I loved and still did well at as I could not manage it with the stress. It has been recommended to me in the past by counselors to "divorce" my mother and sister as they are toxic to me. The counsellor I was seeing recently recommends the detach and distance. Please do look after you. Hope your talk with the nursing home went well. Let us know what you decide to do. I was told to it won't be much longer but at 99 mother may be healthier than me. I can well see her surviving another 10 years and that is a large percentage of the time I have probably have left and I am not prepared to sacrifice it as well as all the years in the past.
@wuvs - no we are not immune to their ways - not at all, but yes, we are still working on the damage they caused
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There will be a special place in Heaven for you! You are much stronger than most. I say this because your toxic surroundings have prepared you for it all. I'll explain..... Your immune to thier ways because you spent a life time trying to undo the damage they did to you by witness. You probably don't realize that the subliminal message in thier relationship is, they have a bond, and through thick and thin they live to dislike the other. Your Mom wishing your Dad to end her life is only a test of his love for her. Think of it this way a child acts up to get negative attention, all knowing that Mom will never give up, the fact is that she loves the child no matter what. You witnessed this constent test between them yet they never gave up on the other. This is probably why you can't give up on them. It takes a good soul and a very strong person to deal with 2 elder parents in need of care! 1 parent is too much to say the least!
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First, hugs to you. It really is amazing how/why some people have stayed together inspite of their own apparent unhappiness and the toxic situation that creates for those around them.

Second, I seriously doubt that the rest of your life will be controlled by their relationship. If Dad is 96 there will be an end to it soon. Of course a few more years might feel like an eternity if you are caught up in this dysfunctionality.

Next, I think you have an excellent plan for setting boundaries. Detach from them emotionally while still baking them brownies once in a while. This has been going on for at least a half a century and it is not likely to change now. You can't change them but you can refuse to get drawn into their battles. Talk to the NH. Take your parents out to eat once in a while, together or separately. Just get out of the emotional turmoil.

As for the POA, I think giving it up will make things more difficult for you when the needs arise and you are inevitably the one expected to meet them. But I don't think having power of attorney makes you responsible for their emotional meltdowns. Don't give up the authority when you are probably going to have the responsibilies with or without it.

And last, do either or both of your parents have dementia? That insidious disease can cause even people who had normal marriages paranoid and accusing their spouse of infidelity. But whether this is a pathological condition that your parents can't help or simply an extension of their long-term relationship, your reaction needs to be to protect you. Detach, dear sumlerc. Provide for their care from an emotional distance.

Good luck, and more hugs!
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