I need help.

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I live in a 55+ community, a few blocks away from my parents. I am a single woman, soon to be 60, whose only life these days seems to be at the beck and call of my 85 year old parents. I get called every day about something and one time recently they showed up at my door at 8:30 pm because I didn't answer my phone. I am worn out, I am starting to resent this life, and I need to be able to work on my own life.

A few minutes ago my father called and demanded that I come over tomorrow to help him hang pictures on the wall so they would look nice for a visit by some friends. He told me that it should be in the morning...not even asking me if I had something else to do.

I am at the end of my rope...I managed to get them to allow a caregiver three days a week who is great and will do anything for them but they still are constantly checking up on me, begging me to visit every day, calling all the time and basically interfering with the life I am trying to build for myself.

I am becoming depressed, not sleeping, bad nutrition, crying, feeling helpless, and alone. I have few friends and my children are so busy they have little time for me.

I am at the place I just want to run away and become someone else.


It is definitely time to set boundaries! You determine which days of the week you can help them, and at what time of day. You set a time during the day when you will take phone calls from them. You say No when they want you to do something you don't want to do. You set up your visiting schedule ... maybe one day a week when the caregiver isn't there, and out to brunch or lunch every other weekend. (Or whatever seems appropriate to you, of course.) You are not 9 years old when it is appropriate for your parents to monitor and supervise your activities.

You need to start working on that life you want to build for yourself. Yes, continue to have contact with your parents, and to provide reasonable help -- but do it on your terms.
Oh, boy. My parents live about 9 miles from me. My nephew is staying with them now, and that's helped immensely with the phone calls - "Something is the matter with the TV remote and we'll be sitting her without a TV until you can take a look at it", "Dad is pulling wires out of the wall trying to "fix" the phone and I can't get him to stop, come over." "Our pool is green, you'll need to get some chlorine and come over today." OMG. I thought I was going to go insane. My mother always has grocery store emgencies too. "The eggs are 99 cents a dozen and the sale ends tomorrow, can you come get me now?" "We're all out of milk and I can't drink my coffee black in the morning.".... blah, blah, blah. I had to tell my mother that I could help her on Tuesdays or Thursdays and only in the morning. It worked for a while. Then, she just started to book her doctor appointments when she felt like it and she'd call me and tell me when I "needed" to drive her. I was unable to several times and she's discovered Dial a Ride isn't too bad. But, I don't live a few blocks away like you do. I feel so badly for you. The only thing I can suggest is to give them only certain days to monopolize like I did, or make it part of your day to stop by, maybe if you take a walk in the morning, for an hour and call it done. Maybe an early morning cup of coffee with the parents will suffice? I know this doesn't help much, but I read your story and said "Oh, my god" out loud several times, so I had to respond.
My dad would call my sister like this.... I finally told her to tell him she would go shopping for him one day a week... he lived in AL for God's sake... all his needs were met..... the day he called and needed cough drops.... yes cough drops... she asked me if I'd go, she was sooooo tireeeeeed.... NO. I won't..... but he'll be upset, SO WHAT..... she did this till the end.... he knew not to call me about stuff like that... and if he made his Dr's appt when we couldn't take him, he didn't go... he refused to call the 'bus' for such things... she did this till the day he died And if it was 'approval' from him she was looking for, she never got it... such a waste of time... set your boundries as others have suggested ... and because you aren't 9 years old, the only one stopping you from creating your new life is you... sending prayers for the courage to do what you need to do to get your life going..... hugs...
Good advice - decide what you want to do (and what you don't) and set those boundaries. Otherwise it will go on forever, and escalate. It will be painful at first to just say no, but you will get used to it. Remember, in many ways they are like children testing you.
I so appreciate all your wonderful advice and support. I know intellectually that I need to set boundaries and I have tried but the folks just brush it aside and continue to ask for help, make me feel guilty, and act pitiful and helpless. In my heart I ache for them...two vibrant, creative, highly intelligent people who are seeing their lives disintegrate before their eyes. I have always been the person who wants acceptance, who needs affirmation of my worth, and so I put my own needs aside and do and do and do for others. I have stopped giving so much to my children, both financially and physically and what has happened is they have pulled away from me...I guess it's hard for them to have been so spoiled and now have the "cord" cut. I have to do this for my parents as well but I just seem to have a harder time doing it, especially since I don't have the luxury of distance...if I haven't returned their calls "timely" they have been known to drive by my house to see if my car is in the driveway. I feel trapped.

I will definitely take all you kind people's advice and begin to set my boundaries with them...in fact, this morning I have been summoned and I will go but we will have "the conversation" in a respectful and caring way.

Thank you all so much. This is my first posting on a support site and I was a bit worried about the response but I am so pleased and it is so wonderful knowing there are people out there, strangers, who care about helping those who are struggling with issues.
Its not an easy talk. Good luck. My mother went from indignation and outrage that I should be too busy to see her/help her every day for every need, to acting sad and hurt and helpless (she likes to manipulate and control with guilt). Please let us know how it went. I'm still at my parents' house more than 1 or 2 days a week most weeks, and I talk to her every day, but I feel more in control. I hope you get some peace.

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