My Elderly Mother is Very Selfish

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Selfishness is not living as one wishes to live; it is asking others to live as one wishes to live. -Oscar Wilde-

I came across this quote and it hit home with me today. I realized that my Mom is very selfish. I think most of my fellow caregivers have family that are selfish like this.

My parents had me because they wanted children. They raised me to LEAVE the NEST. They didn't pay for my college, my house or anything once I left the nest. I had my kids because I wanted children. I don't want my children to raise me when I am old.

I am on the last day of respite provided by Hospice, (Thank the good Lord for Hospice!!!!!) Before I bring her home tomorrow, we are having a meeting about Mom. The Dr. told her this is as good as it's going to get and that she can't walk without assistance. Mom was getting up by herself and falling all the time. Once the Dr. left she told me she is going to prove him wrong and get better. They are going to try and get her to understand that she just doesn't have the stability to get up and walk alone. (Good luck).

Anyway..... I decided that although I can't force her into assisted living or a Nursing home, I don't have to be the full time caregiver anymore. I plan to tell her what I am willing to help her with and anything beyond that SHE will have to be the adult and figure it out. I will no longer be at her 24/7 beck and call. I will no longer put my husband and children on the back burner. I have given up over 2 years of my life to be her servant and I am no longer willing or able to do that. If she wants to stay in her home, there are agencies she can call for the assistance she needs.
I have read so many stories similar to mine and I hope this give some the ability to separate love and servitude. We are NO slaves. We are children that love our parents but that doesn't mean we are to sacrifice our own lives to be slaves to the whims of our spoiled relatives. Yes, the spoiling was my own fault. When you hear that your parent has 6 mo or less, of course you want to make it the best possible time. Whoever, it is going on 3 years and she is just fine given her condition. I'm not going to do the 24/7 for the next 10 years. I am not going to feel guilty or get sucked in to her guilt trips anymore. I am done with the anger, the tantrums and the constant need for attention.
I will let you all know how it goes. Keep the faith, friends.

Thanks all!
SanityFOUND =D

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I just want to say thanks for this article... I'm a African American woman... My mother is a 71 year old selfish asshole... I had a life living on my own with freedom until my step father got I'll.... They never had a real marriage... For 26 years their marriage nothing but drama... Arguing, fussing, and fighting and it's been going on for years... Trying to change him... Nothing worse by dealing with her in laws.. He passed away last week... No furneral arrangements due to her in laws can't stand her and don't want to get along.... Ever since he died, .. She seems like she's glad he's gone.... Here's the story we African Americans... We lived in the neighborhood that is not so great... Her house is messing, nasty and roach infected due to her clutter house, she's crazy.. she always has mental issues since when I was a child but now with the medications and age, she gotton worser and worser....she just plain old psycho....she treats me like I'm an intruder now, going through my stuff, treating me like a kid like really????? Tell me how to live my life, ever time we go to the store she just don't want to get out... I'm from the generation you can't talk back or else... Thats that African American tradition... It's alot of stress on me with High blood pressure, and anxiety now I'm in deep depression... How I feel about her, I be glad her time comes.... So I can be free.....
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I have a selfish mother too! She is very manipulating and plays me and my sister against one another in order to fulfill her needs. She has ample money for herself, but comes to my house to eat so she wont have to buy food etc. She comes here to complain about the same thing day after day. Makes me crazy but I deal with it. She wont even buy a gallon of milk without asking for 5.00. I cant believe her! She even makes me give her 50 cents for a stamp. Well I don't charge her for heat, a place to sleep food etc. I don't even get a real hug. She says "I am your mom". I say that is the most overused form of control I know. Then be a mom, show some LOVE for someone other than yourself.
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I have  and had 5 surgeries in my adult life. My parents never attended even one of those surgeries. No problem. I am single, now age 60. My mother has 6 kids who are all doing their very best. She is twice divorced and now old and disabled. She moved far away for warmer weather. Now she feels “abandoned”.
When she wants to be left alone, she leaves. She moved to 3000 miles away after her 2nd divorce. Moved back because she was lonely. Moved 1000 miles away for better climate. That’s ok, but there is no one there to take care of her. I told her before she left this would happen. She said “no one cares anyway”.
There is a certain type of parent that does not really understand their child’s autonomy, feelings, etc. When I had a miscarriage (I was a little older and it was almost a miracle pregnancy) she told me I was lucky my baby died.
What kind of mother says this to her own daughter?
She is confused about the feelings her children have about their own lives, marriages and autonomy. Especially as she is older now she is more angry than every that people don’t stop what they are doing to see to her needs. She lives far away and none of us is in the position to run interference from a distance. I told her over and over again not to move far away, but she wanted to. Now she is mad no one comes there. Well, they can’t afford it, plain and simple.
Every parent is different. Save yourself if your parent is making excessive demands that you find difficult to fulfill.
Some parents inspire devotion and it is great that they have adult children who are near to them and love to do these things. However, some parents do not inspire devotion and are angry and demanding. If that is your parent, sometimes no matter what you do it’s the “wrong thing”. Do what you can and let it be. It is not worth it to sacrifice your life for extremely self centered parents. We love them, but we love ourselves too. Take care of yourself or you will find yourself in a very bad position, especially if your parent is the self absorbed type. They will never see what your needs are.
Good luck out there!
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Dear Islander60,

I know it sometimes feel hopeless and there is no choice but to be the responsible and dutiful one. I felt that responsibility keenly as well. In hindsight, please know its okay to find other options for our loved ones. I wish for myself had stepped back and realized I wasn't coping well anymore. I needed to get help for myself and for my loved ones. I just wanted you know there is a way out, there are always other options. Maybe consider talking to social worker about your mom. Take care of yourself.
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I spent all my life (most of it, I'm 60) taking care of other selfish people. My wife who, I stuck for twenty years, my daughter who is 18 and dropped out of high school, and now my mother who is now 85 and needs assistance with everything. I work five days a week and take care of mom two days. I travel a hundred miles every weekend. I have don't have a life and will likely not until I'm too old. Don't see a way out.
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OMG! I am going through the same thing. Not only my mother is selfish, honery, verbally abusive, throws temper tantrums, saids the gross and embarrassing things, which is funny to my friends but me not so much! But she also wants to physically fight me sometimes! I defiantly have a senior care in the near future because she treats others better than me! So glad to know someone can feel what Im going through!
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OMG! Thank you for your statement! I am going through the same thing. My mother not only is selfish, honery throws temper tantrums but verbally abusive and also threaten to jump on me! My culture as a African American you are taught to not talk back to your parents and take care of them in your home when they get old but in my case I will not be able to do that because the stress is overwhelming plus she treats others better than me. I haven't moved her yet but it's in my plans in the near future.
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Mike, other posters have given you excellent advise. Put the plan in action as far as having others check on your mom and RUN!!!! Your life is passing you by. I will keep you and all of my aging care Webbie friends in my thoughts and prayers. I could write the book and win first place if I told all about my selfish mom. She abandoned me when I was a year old only to force her way back in my life after I got married and had my children. She did this only to milk me dry, financially, emotionally and mentally. She died last year and I would be telling a big fat lie if I said that I shed the first tear. I was so stupid that I never stopped trying to make her into a good person. Thanks for this thread. I feel better after sharing just that little bit of the mountains of selfishness that she was. I am OK, now. I don't need counseling over this, after all I am the retired psychology nurse. These sort of things will sneak up on us humans and we will be completely and totally involved before we know it.
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Mike - you are in a terrible situation. As Carla says, next time she goes to hospital tell them you cannot take her home as you are unable to care properly for her and don't allow yourself to be be convinced otherwise by anyone. She needs institutional care. Even if due to HIPAA her doctor can't speak with yow, you could write out your concerns and give them to her doctor who may be able to take some steps. I agree, don't try to avoid an emergency. Attend some ALANON meetings for families of alcoholics. They should be abke to give you some guidance. Contact your local Agency for Aging and Social Services who may have resources/ideas for you. Leaving her alone with the proper services in place is an option. You need to look after yourself and things will only get worse.
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Mike, the first thing you should do it start your own thread. This one is years old and most people have probably stopped reading it.

I love your description of Central Florida - that's where I moved too for my mother and I too consider it the armpit of America. The hot, sweaty armpit. UGH!! Rednecks in pickups and seniors, oh my! My same reaction. I don't think you could have pried me out of Cape Cod, though. I've wanted to live there my whole life. I left Eastern Pennsylvania, which has its own problems.

You need to get out of there. She refuses help only as long as she has a better solution - you! However, before you walk out you need to know that you may have stepped into an even worse pile of carp than you realize. Florida has criminal laws about elder abandonment/neglect and a history of enforcing them. If I were you I'd put some sort of system in place, like someone to check on her every 24 hours and call police for a wellness check if she doesn't let them in. Have them call 911 if she's on the floor in a drunken stupor or has set the house on fire.

The other thing you could do is stop trying to avoid an emergency by making her eat, limiting her booze, whatever she does. Next time there's an emergency call 911. Once she's in the hospital, explain that you were visiting from out of state and can't stay with her at home. They'll have to place her in care or make other arrangements. You need to get out of there.
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