Caring for Mom who didn't care for me.

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I just turned 40 and I feel like I'm drowning and there's nothing I can do. My mom's latest husband passed away 10 years ago and since then,,,my mother had no place to go so I took her in. BIG MISTAKE.

She was much into the gambling since when I was a baby and I remember when I turned 10, she got remarried and dumped me to her mom which is my grandmother to Korea. She returned from the states somewhat separated from her ex-husband when I was 16 to drag me away from my grandmother's house. She took me to this small town, and rented this tiny one bedroom for myself for a half a year so she can go gambling again. Yes she did pay rent but I never had a home cooked meal by my mom until I was much much older.

When I was 9 years old, my mother would constantly pull me out of school to take me to her friend's gambling house for days since she was afraid her ex -husband would come looking for me since he couldn't find mom. She would disappear for days. She would take me to this gambling house and she would play cards for days. She didn't cared where I was or if I ate or not. I would sit in the corner for days until she lose all her money then she would beat me saying she lost because I was bad luck. She took me there when I was in school!!! My childhood with my mom was just going from gambling house to another gambling house. When I was raised by my grandmother,,,I was a happy kid although we were very poor! I went to school everyday and I was fed and well cared for.

When she brought me to America, it got worst. I could not even speak English back then but my mom would not come home for days or sometimes weeks. You guess it! She started gambling again. I did very well in junior year but she didn't show up to any of the parent-teacher meeting thing and she didn't cared if I had all A's. Eventually, I got mixed with wrong crowd and started drinking and smoking. My mom? She probably had no idea since I would not see her for weeks. I started to work as soon I got to the states and I saved up quiet a bit, but everytime I save up enough to do something nice for myself or just feel good about saving,,,my mom would raise hell when she comes home looking for anything to sell. She would tell me to borrow money from my friends so she can gamble. If I didn't,,,she would act like a little kid crying and screaming. So I always gave her whatever I had in my bank and in my pocket. She took my savings many times. I had literally nothing to eat at home but rice and shoyu for few years when I was in high school. I lived like that for another few years until I was able to move out . She got remarried and I moved out happily.

When her ex-husband passed away 10 years ago, I was left with broken/depressed/anti-social/BROKE mom. I had her move in with me. I still cared for her even though she didn't care for me. She didn't work for past 20 years and she refused to do even light work. She depends on me financially,emotionally and physically. I try taking her out to church or somewhere to have her socialize, but she refuses everytime. I do all her chores like picking up medicine/driving her to places for anything/taking her to doctor appointment and even cooking. She stays home all day and watchs tv all day. She refused to work and when it comes to her birthday,,,she always ask me to buy her something nice and expensive although I don't ever remembered my mom buying anything for me. I even paid my own tuition when I went back to school. she asks me to buy her make-up which would be like $400 a month. I paid for her dental implants which was like 40G and I've worked years to pay that off, she smokes pack a day and constantly ask me for more money.
I have been very depressed since she moved in with me.

I don't know when was the last time I felt happy. I got engaged to this beautiful girl but my mom refused to move to another state or live by herself. Long story short, I'm still single and I'm 40. I want a family of my own too, but I know it's impossible with my mom. All my friends are amazed at what I do since my close friends know what I went through. They all tell me to dump her like she did me but I just can't find it in my heart. I'm her only child and it makes me feel guilty everytime I think about it.

I'm pretty sad everyday thinking this will be my life forever without having any friends or my own family. I can't date anymore because I don't want to drag anyone down with me. I have no social life because I constantly worry about her and my mom basically don't want me to go out and just stay with her all day if I'm not working. I feel like there's a ton of weight on my shoulder and I can't just shrug it off. It's been there for while now and I did okay so far but I'm wearing out emotionally and financially.

I must've done something bad in my past life because I feel like I'm living in hell everyday. No joy in life. Just work and pay bills and take care of my mom who never cared for me.


You're codependent. Look for an Al-Anon meeting in your area. They can help you even if your mother isn't drinking or using drugs, and from what you say she isn't gambling anymore (or is she?)
Thank you! I will look into that! She's lost everything and I won't give her any money to gamble since I'm older and I know that I have bills. If I give her money for gambling,,,I'll be homeless so will she so I'm very firm with that.
I'm sorry to hear of your life story. Honolulu suggests joining an Al-Anon group for support and advice and she is spot-on. If you live in or near a big city, there should be many types of help groups for family members who have relatives who are addicted. They will advise you much better than I can, but I know it's about changing yourself and not your mom. Contact agencies in your area that help people with caring for the aged. Look in your phone book to see what you can find, like Council for the Aged, Senior Citizen's groups, etc. You mentioned taking your mom to church, and a church can be a wonderful resource leading to help with various situations. If they can't help you directly, they might be able to refer you to a place that can. You are doing the right thing by not giving her any money, as she will most likely gamble with it. When she demands expensive gifts, don't give into that type of behavior. If you feel you must buy her something, go to one of the dollar stores and buy her some perfume. It will cost a dollar and only you have to know that. You must find a life for yourself, with or without her approval. Do not let her manipulate you because she will continue to do so. Try to forget the past. What matters is today and the future. I can't imagine how hard growing up was for you, but for YOU not her you must start new today. In your mind you came from an egg. If you can, it might help to view your mom as someone to pity. Do not give in to her tantrums. Treat her as you would a 2 year old, who has a fit when she doesn't get candy at the store. Remember it's good for her (and you) to not give in to the tantrum. More giving in to tantrums....more fits.. it's a vicious cycle. Walk out of the room when she does this. Do not participate and let her know that this is the new norm. Be consistent - do you argue with her or try to convince her of anything, you will be wasting your breath. Since she will not have an "audience" and gain no reward, she will eventually stop making demands. Since your mom sounds like she's good at getting her way, you cannot blame her for trying to manipulate you because she has usually been "rewarded". It is up to you to change the dynamic.You can't change her but you can change you. Since you can't get your mom out to go anywhere, and you don't mention her safety being an issue if she is at home alone, go out! Do not appear upset at her when she starts to argue with you demanding you stay home. Calmly tell her you're going for a walk, invite her to go, when she says no tell her you'll be back after while. Block your ears to her crying. The more this becomes a habit she'll accept it....or not, but I guarantee her tantrums will be not as loud. Get some fresh air and do something you enjoy. Good luck and take care of yourself.
Thank you so much for great advice. I guess you're right in so many ways and I know in my heart that I need to be more firm with my mom but it's really really difficult. I feel guilty when I go out or when I go out eat or drink with my friends thinking she's home alone. I swear if my mom cared a little about me when I was young, I'd be so happy to take care of her. I got neglected and abused most of my childhood but yet she thinks it's my job to take care of her till she passes. She doesn't look for friends or goes out but just clings to me like a baby would. She does not care if I have family of my own. I also think she doesn't want me to get married because in her mind, I would move away from her because my wife will make me. It's almost impossible to bring home any girl because it'd be really awkward. I will try to be more social with my friends and go out more often. I'll write more but I have to go to work. Thank you so much for your comment. I really appreciate you taking your time for me!
Oh my, you do need your own life, your own home. It is not dishonoring your mother, to make a big change and have your own life. Rather you will be doing something better for yourself....this is what all parents everywhere want for their kids, for kids to be happy & hopefully do "better" than they did. Please do not feel guilty for breathing FREE of your mother. Please find your soul mate, make that person your most important person. Your mom may feel jilted, but she is not your soul mate!! She has no right to deny you a marriage & family of your own. I will send beautiful thoughts your way, expect to find your new soul mate soon, be ready to be her soul mate too, by detaching from your mother.
Hopefully you have found an Al-Anon group nearby. You are caught in a vicious circle that only you can change! Your Mom made her choices without regard for your wellbeing throughout the years. It is time to live your own life!
Thank you so much for your sweet thoughts Samara and thank you for your advice Littleton. It's part of my fault for NOT having a heart to abandon her. I wished that my mom would worry about my future just a bit. I really think she wants me to be single all my life so she can live with me and she doesn't have to work or do anything. I got engaged to this beautiful girl that I loved dearly and I was so desperate to get married to her yet my mom flat out refused to move to another state. I threaten to leave her and she cried and cried for days and I finally gave in and I gave my all to her taking care of her. I just wished that I could live my own life without having to worry about my mom. I will look into Al-Anon although I have no idea who they are. Thank you so much!
"It's part of my fault for NOT having a heart to abandon her."--this statement you made is troubling. Al non will help but you may need a therapist.

Have you asked yourself truthfully why you do this? What is in it for you? Do you enjoy self pity?
Honolulu- It is easier to focus on your mom's behaviors instead of taking responsibility for your part. Relationships are a two-way street. Often the dominant personality tries to manipulate the other person, and then the less dominant person uses passive-aggressive behaviors to's a no-win situation. You can choose to continue like you are or chose to work on yourself and improve your situation. It is up to you to accept your role in what's happened in your life and where you are today. As long as you continue to blame your mom for what's happening currently and "controlling" you emotionally, you're playing the role of victim. Yes, as a child you had bad things happen to you that you didn't choose; we've all had bad things happen in our lives that we'd like to change or erase. As adults, however, we choose how we react emotionally to others, even in the most dismal situations. It's been a week since you had several posters suggest several viable options, don't wait another week before reaching out for help.
I also care for a mother who did not care for me. She got divorced when I was 8 and sent me away to live w people we never met until I was 17. I have no memory of what happen to me while I lived w these people. Her second husband left her a year ago after 30 years he said enough. I am stuck. I have no sisters, brothers, aunts, uncles. My cousins don't know her because she never took the time. My mother is very narscistic. I have her in assisted living for a year. I run around day to day trying to care for her needs and her house which still has all her stuff in it and my house. All 3 are falling apart. I can't wait until this all ends. I HATE caring for my mother.

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