My Mother Pretends to Get Sick and I'm At The End of My Rope

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Hi Everyone,
I don't know what to do. Mother came to live with my husband and me following a stroke. She has always been self centered and thought the world revolved around her. I work full time and seems that almost every Friday she starts to "get sick". She is not really sick because if I threaten her with a visit to the doctor she recovers. My husband is just about at the end of his patience with her. He says he can deal with the stroke, he just can't deal wtih the behaviors. We have tried to get her to go to adult day care or try to do jigsaw puzzles etc to help fill her day, but all she wants to do is watch TV. We both feel like we no longer have a life. We went on vacation about a month ago and put my mother in Respite care. It was a total disater and we ended up coming home early. The sad part is that she does't seem to realize or care that we have given up a great part of our lives to care for her. Both my husband and I are about at the end of our rope mostly because of her behaviours. Just needed to vent.


Yikes I am in the same situation, nothing wrong with my husband's mom, through check up proves that. Lately she pretends she can not comprehend and she can not hear but have spoken in a low tone on purpose and she hears me fine. Her world has always centers around her, when younger she pulled her son out of school to come home to help her even though she had a husband that worked. Yes we are at out wits end she is addicted to ativan and continues to wake us up to get more yes I need to vent as well I understand you are what they call at a stage called burnout and will lose your temper and say harsh words girl it is coming. They say have patience well we do very much and we care but it is very hard can not afford a full time nurse or someone to care for her just to get away yikes.
My mother has been in survival mode for years. Her life always centered on herself and my father. Now he is gone, it centers on her. I understand where you are coming from. It is sad when it comes to the point where the parent sees the child as someone to serve them and doesn't see the cost they are exacting. A big question is what can we do when they are so dependent on us and unwilling to make any changes. heavyload, you have my sympathies. I don't know how I would get my mother to move elsewhere in your situation. I know I would like to move away from my mother's home, but she refuses to go to a facility. We get stuck when there is no one else to help.
What did your mother do in respite care that made you return early from vacation?
My mother played up in respite and they had no qualms - straight to hospital - she has never played them up since!

I don ask any more - If she is sick she is sick and thats an end to it - if she can sustain refusing cake for a day then she probably is sick! If not then by god she aint - trust me after a 4 hour paramedic visit the night before last in a playing me up situation I am now resolute about it
My mother would abuse the EMS System if I let her. She gets addicted to the attention. Now I remind her that if we call, she will get transported and if she gets transported, she will get a blood draw and an IV. That usually cures her.
Is your mom home alone while you and your husband are at work?

Pretending to be sick might be her way of telling you she's scared - how does she handle meals etc when you're not around?

Her behavior is common and will only get worst - my mom is uber dependent on me and as a result is having a tough time now at a memory care facility - I have a 1:1 caregiver with her 4 hours during the day and another overnight - she is scared to be alone there with strangers and other residents with behavior issues
I understand where you're all coming from, I started got sucked into all that with my 96 yr old mother. It helps to remind myself of something I learned when studying for my Psychology degree.
People don't generally do something unless there's something in it for them.
So, whatever a parent is willfully doing (NOT from dementia, UTI, or real illness), it usually is for an outcome they want. If the outcome changes to something they don't want they will try another tactic.
I might add that the same goes for the caregiver. The added income from a parent can be beneficial to a caregiver, the feeling of being 'the only one they'll listen to' can boost a feeling of purpose to an empty nester, and so on.
I came to a point after years of caring for Mom when I sat myself down and asked the important questions of who is getting what out of the situations that arise? Why does she 'get sick' if I try to go to a movie and magically recover if I stay home? It reinforced her feeling of being loved after spending her life being a neglectful mother. Why am I giving up everything to care for someone I don't particularly love? For fear I'd 'look bad' to the rest of the family.
I can share what helped me on this site. Apply for Medicaid BEFORE you need it if possible. Learn about spending down. Get on a waiting list at a SNF that you've toured and feel okay about. Let your parent know that when their care becomes 'beyond your capabilities' (you decide what those are) you will make sure they are transitioned to a good place.
It is not an argument, nor a threat, you're just telling them that you love them enough to make sure they have the best care. And the best may not be from you if their needs are beyond what you're capable of.
Best of luck. I hope any of this helps. In the meantime, scream into a pillow ;)
I agree - what are they getting out of it. My dad pulls this stunt with my stepmom to keep her from getting a break a few hours a week. She had enough and told the woman who comes in twice a week for 2 hours at a time - that if dad gets "sick" not to call her, but call 911. Stopped him from acting up with the companion. Then, she stopped telling him ahead of time that she was going to be going out and that a companion would be there. Two benefits - he didn't have time to yell and scream about it / didn't have time to pretend to get sick. Now she just has to deal with his tantrum when he gets home.

Treat them like a toddler if that is what they are acting like one.
my mother called an ambulance for a bloody nose. Now for the rest of her life she will say my doctor told me I cant bend over ( that's what they told her night of nose bleed )...........she will use it as an excuse as to why she cant pick something off the floor etc......for her age shes healthy but she loves pity.......I have none left. My pity box is empty.
I have a mother in Law just like that. Make sure you are very very good to yourselves. Go out, get a sitter and make sure they know her particular problem. Being good to yourselves is the answer. She will not change. The workaround is making sure you and your spouse are not sacrificing living. Especially your husband who was very good to have your mother live with you. I am on the other side of the coin being that my Pain is my mother in law. I have bent over backwards and it seems as if my husband at times does not appreciate it. SO I make sure I am Very good to myself. No one else will do it.
Good Luck and take more vacations and have a care giver come in that you trust so you can get out and enjoy YOUR life.
Best regards

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