Ungrateful mother (89).

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My husband and I are very active 69 year olds but my mother is literally draining me emotionally. She has two daughters. I am the oldest by one year. My mother has been hateful to me my whole life but is just the opposite with my sister and her kids. I have taken care of my mother her whole life , especially for the last ten years since my dad died. My sister hasn't lifted her little finger to help because she lives seven hours away. We have tried to put mother in an assisted living but she won't have it. I finally have a registered nurse with her at her home. No matter what I do for her, she doesn't appreciate it. She always gives praises for my sister whom she only sees every couple of years and that visit is just for a day. She does have mild dementia now but I can't tell any diffrence in her actions towards me as they have always been hateful. She still thanks my sister hung the moon. She drives the nurse crazy too. She is mad at me right now and I have to go through the nurse to talk to her. She thanks my 36 year old daughter , who lives two states away stole a pair of high heels from her. I pay all her bills for her and have put five thousand miles on my car taking her to diffrence doctor appointments but when I mention what all I do for her. Her answer is "Who asked you to." I lay awake at night worries about her. I know I shouldn't, but I do. How can she be so hateful to me and so nice to my sister who never has done anything for her?

5 Comments

To quote your mother, Who asked you to? Why are you investing your emotional energy in this no-win situation? If you can answer that you may get some clues about what needs to change.

She is your mother. On some level you love her. You owe her some care in her old age. I get all that. All of that can be accomplished by seeing to it that Mom is well cared for, has food, clean shelter, and whatever medical care she needs. You do not have to do the hands-on caregiving personally. Hiring the nurse, for example, is one way to show your love and fulfill your duty. Good move on your part!

So why are you continuing to bang your head against the wall? No matter what you do she isn't going to appreciate it. That isn't going to change. If you are doing it in hopes of getting some appreciation, of finally getting the recognition you've deserved since childhood, just stop. Mom isn't going to change now. She's had 89 years to perfect this bitchiness. Sometimes dementia does mellow a person out and make them kinder and calmer, but not often. Mostly it makes a bitchy person every bit as bitchy as she's always been, but worse because social filters are no longer working. Sigh. If you want to be shown appreciation, get a dog. Or go read to a class of grade-schoolers.

The someone-stole-something-from-me business is extremely common in dementia. It is irrational. That is definitely coming from dementia. Don't take it personally. (Many of your mother's other slights probably are personal. Don't add anything to your burden that really isn't.)

So, if you were hoping to finally improve your relationship with your mother, give it up. Detach with love. Continue to see that she has care, but stop lying awake at night worrying about her. Stop providing so much of the care personally. Find a reliable source of transportation to doctors for her. If she needs something more than a regular taxi, ask the clinics what service they recommend. The sister who hung the moon can probably take over the bill-paying. Can't most of that be online? Or mother can hire a service for that. Who asked you to do it, anyway?

You cannot force Mother to go to assisted living or anywhere else. But she can't force you to be her personal servant. So, why are you doing it to the point it is draining you emotionaly?
"You cannot force Mother to go to assisted living or anywhere else. But she can't force you to be her personal servant." If I could I would embroider Jeanne's wise words on pillows and ship them to so many on this board.
This board is filled with kind words and sometimes tough love based on experience.
12horses, you mentioned you have been taking care of your Mom the past ten years. Thus, during that past 10 years the family dynamics have changed back to adult/child.... your Mom probably doesn't view you as your own adult self, but as a teenager who constantly needs to be put into her place.

Thank goodness you have a caregiver helping your Mom out, that is great. But I know Mom's behavior can still stress you out big time.

We also have to look at Mom's side of the issue, she is now 89 years old and the world has passed her by.... I wonder if there were things she always wanted to do in her life but never could. She could be angry at herself for a life not well lived the way she wanted, or she could be angry that your Dad is no longer there for her.... like how dare he pass leaving her alone. This isn't how she planned retirement. So let her grumble, as getting old isn't easy.
God bless you for all that you have done for uour mother. Unfortunately your mother is set in her ways and there is mo changing how she treats you and does not appreciate all you do. She sounds like someone in my family so I can relate. Cut yourself loose. Have the nurse you hired continue and tell the nurse to contact your sister with any problems.
Have you seen "The Help?" Tell yourself every day, every hour "You is smart, you is kind, you is important."

Your mother will never say that to you, but you can say it to yourself every time she is mean to you. Maybe after you build yourself up and believe that, you can start ignoring her words, and respond to her as the cranky miserable baby she is. She may not have earned your love and forgiveness, but you deserve to feel the contentment you can feel by giving it to her.

The most important part is to love yourself. You appreciate all you do for her, so give yourself a pat on the back.

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