Boundaries when living with my elderly mother.

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My Mother wants to keep me on a short leash just in case she needs something, which is constant. I have a business that I am trying to build to help me become financially independent from her. I get very little privacy, just countless questions. Where am I going, when am i coming back. Make sure I have my cell phone, on and on. I AM LOOSING IT!


Beachbaby, why are you living with your mother? Does she have impairments that require some caregiving? Do you have financial needs that are being met by moving in with her? What is the basic situation here?

You mother "likes" to keep you on a short lease. I hope you realize it is not your job to give your mother everything she likes. If you went grocery shopping for your mother every day at the height of rush hour, then I think you have some serious work to do on setting boundaries.

You: "I'm going to be out this evening. I don't know when I'll be back. Don't wait up for me."
Mother: "Where are you going?"
You: "I'll have my cell phone with me. Please don't call unless it is an emergency."
Mother: "But where will you be? I might need you!"
You: "My cell phone will work no matter where I am. If you can't reach me and it is an emergency, dial 911."
Mother: "I insist on knowing where you will be and when you are coming home."
You: "Sorry Mother. My social life is my private business."
Mother: "You are so selfish. If you loved me you'd tell me!"
You: "In case you are in bed when I get home, I'll say good night now."

Mother can want and insist and expect whatever she dreams up. That doesn't mean you have to fulfill her expectations. It has been a very long time since you were 9 years old and she was in charge of where you went and how long you stayed there!

Speaking of being nine, what was your relationship with your mother like while you were growing up?

There are some members on this site who are very experienced at setting and enforcing boundaries. Please provide a little more detail so they can offer specific encouragement.
Beachbaby, the same situation with me and my dad. I stay with the parents to help them. Before his stroke, it just drove me crazy when he wanted to know where I was going -other than work. I never answer him on where I was going since it was none of his business. I told him my cell phone is on the wall, near the phone and other places. Call me if it's an emergency. Then I walk out.

He also has lists for me to get. We still argue over that today. Reasoning doesn't work. He expects me to go buy it even if I'm stuck at home in the weekend because nobody to babysit him and mom - both now bedridden. Even when I explain we don't have the money for his list, he still gets so angry. So, I just shrug it off and get it when I can.

But, it's hard to decide with your situation since we don't know the family situation. I'm at home to help care for them. He says that I'm home because I have nowhere to go. But, I do. I've had family members offer me their place to stay but I refused it. Parents need help - nobody to help them - so, here I am (reluctantly, mind you.) Don't know if that helps with you....
This is an observation about elderly folks and their need to know where we are going. I attribute this to anxiety with my 90 year old mother. I think sometimes we can take it to serious and in my situation I try to think about how she feels when she's alone. It is scary for her and she gets anxious. So I don't have an expectation of not telling her where I am going and when I'll be back. You don't have to tell all details and if they insist just make something up that will satisfy them.
MOM: Where are you going?
YOU: Out and about, errands to run.
MOM: When will you be back?
YOU: When I get home. Bye! *cue to leave*
do not answer anymore questions, do not look back, just walk away.

that's a boundary. i had to set boundaries for my mother. she was not allowed to speak of certain issues with me, if she did so, i gave her THE LOOK, and said, "you are not allowed to speak to me of this".
I didn't want to lie to dad. He always believed and still does that it is MY DUTY (Note - only ME not my other 6 siblings) to care as much as I can for them. He doesn't expect 100% because I do have to go to work. Other than that, my life should be totally dedicated to him and mom.

So, when I'm going to spend my Saturday morning (the mornings when I'm off from work), I don't want to lie to him. So, I can't really say shopping unless I come home with stuff that's worth 6 hrs of being gone. So, I just don't answer him.

But if I am going shopping, then I say so. We just recently had a big yelling argument. He had the nerve to look me in the eye and say, "You HAVE to take care of us." I just lost my temper. (I've always had problems contolling my temper but was able to control it in my late teens.) I have to fight back with him because if I don't his verbal abuse will wear me down and I will end up like my oldest sis. She will do ANYTHING for him just to keep his mouth shut. I've already learned the hard way, if I don't set boundaries physically and VERBALLY, it can spiral me back down to my depression. I really am not strong enough to handle that constant depression. Just yesterday, we argued. I looked into me and asked myself "suicide?" Yeah! Absolutely No Desire to Suicide!!! I'm slowly but surely pushing those thoughts away from my forethoughts.

So, it is very important to set boundaries. I'm beginning to learn to appreciate ME by doing things (my Wall Post reminders, same note on my bathroom mirror, fight back for ME when dad tries to control me, etc...)
36 helpful answers
You said it in your question: Boundaries...this is normal for the elderly when a child is living with them - whether you are helping them out or vice versa. It doesn't really matter and this is all about how you go about setting your personal boundaries. We are always treated based on the strength or weakness of our boundaries. A good exercise is to write down all the things about your living situation that are driving you crazy and then put a check mark next to the things that are due to not having clear boundaries in place. Once you've done that, you can go about changing what isn't working for you. It might take some time, but stick with your boundaries and usually others will follow suit.
Sometimes it is just not when you are their caregiver. My Mom was like that our entire life. She thought it was her right to know where her children were every minute of every matter their age. Funny but my two sisters are the same with each other. They get very upset when we vacation and don't understand why I don't call in everyday. Like others, I tell them you have my cellphone nbr in case of emergency. I was hiding behind the door when that "have to know" trait was handed out.
"have to know" ends the day you reach 18, age of legal adulthood. you can tell them i said that.

you "want to know"? sucks for you. something a counselor taught me.
I think if you are living under their roof then it shouldn't be too hard to write it down on something to let the elder person know where u are going and about what time you should be back. This will help keep the elder person to feel more at ease knowing that you will be coming back and especially if they have mild dementia.
On the otherhand, you can have those parents that wants to know every step u took n where n etc. Still again, your living under their roof n their rules no matter how old you n just give them the basic. For example: I am going to work n I will be back roughly around 6ish. If their is an emergency you can reach me by this # but it has to be for an emergency only. That way both of you will be giving each other mutual respect while living under the same roof. That is just my personal opinion.
i think lildeb, that you must have missed portions of what beachesbaby said. the mother in question has crossed the line, look again. case she needs something, which is constant.
I get very little privacy, just countless questions.
...on and on. I AM LOOSING IT!

taking care of a parent does not mean that one needs to succumb to emotional or mental use or abuse. a caregiver still has a right to a life of their own. boundaries must be set.

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