Mercurial mood changes in Mom.

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My mom lives in my home town. My brother lives there too, but she doesn't ask him to do "too much". He lives about 2 miles away from her, drives her places (grocery & church) and does run some errands for her. He doesn't do much for her around the house. I live about 3 1/2 hours away, so I go there maybe once a month. She has been having more up and down days, recently. She has always been active and now that she's getting older, she has many more aches and pains than ever before. This is all new to her. Even a sinus infection is a HUGE deal to her (my brother and I both have allergies and typically have multiple sinus/upper respiratory infections per year). Little sympathy is given to us, but if she gets any small infection, etc. it is a huge deal that she must tell everyone about. She had experienced some sciatica pain a few weeks back but it went away as soon as the weather got better. She was just into her doctor this past week for a regular checkup; everything was just great. The next day I got a tearful voicemail about how she was in so much pain. The sciatica had returned. I told her she needed to call her doctor's office the next morning. She had to call me again the next day to say it hurt and again I told her to call her doctor. I also looked up some remedies over the internet and relayed those to her. If I ever tell her what I have found or read, the response is you think you know everything! (I should learn to keep quiet but most times she asks for advice - only for me to be shot down and yelled at). She got medication for the pain. I called to see how she was doing and she said it hadn't taken effect yet (even though it was later in the day - 2 to 3 doses taken). The next day I got a call that she had gotten sick from the medication, to which I said call the doctor. They told her she needed to take the medication on a full stomach and she just now simply refuses to take the medication. She called me this morning all happy and in a good mood. I called her back just now, later in the day to see how she was doing. She was very argumentative and said I am alone and in pain and it is not fair, why am I in pain? I said if it doesn't let up she needs to go back to the doctor. Not going to do it. He's not in anyway next week (spring break). I asked if she'd eaten. Yes, she was so hungry for it but just ate a little. She always eats just a little; she had told me other friends of hers say they cannot eat a lot at one sitting any more - but she forgot all about that. She'd even told me she only eats a little, but more often. Now she has turned that into I won't be around much longer. No one is here to take care of me, I am all alone, no one cares about me. She will not even consider a senior living apartment - I'm not going to a nursing home! Even though other relatives have gone into senior apartments and she said oh they've enjoying life and having some fun. In her mind, she only wants me to take care of her. I cannot drive their every weekend, as I have other responsibilities. If I say that I cannot do that, she will say well what have you got to do so big? She has been very controlling all of her life, and she hates it that she cannot control me now. My brother does not share any personal details of his life with her, he does not even tell her where he works. She pretty much demanded all of our attention when we grew up; if I had friends over (seldom) she had to be right there. Most of my friends either told me to go to their house or simply dropped me as a friend due to her interference. She even would say I wouldn't get to close to xxxx. As she would say, she ruled the roost. She knows how to push my buttons, and I get so angry and say well ok, then I guess i have to quit my job and sell my home and move there! The thing is, there are no jobs there, plus I'm over 50 with 20 years service in where I am working. I was selected as part of a buyout with the company to go to a new company - not everyone was given an offer, so it would be foolish to quit now. I had mom visit me for extended period years ago, and it stressed me out so badly, she has not been here in years. I have a 2 story home (what I could afford) and she has even said I bought a 2 story so that she couldn't live here (with her arthritis and all), it was part of my evil plot. She has left messages that I am evil, she considers me dead, she no longer has a daughter. She has always had a volatile personality, but it's just increasing. I have almost thought of looking for some help to hire for her, to do her household chores, maybe make simple meals for her, but I'm not sure if she'd agree with it. I'm just beyond frustrated. I was doing better at not getting angry, but it's every other day or even hour where her mood changes so drastically, and it's all my fault somehow. Thanks for letting me vent.

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You are right. It would be foolish to quit your job now. And it would be folly beyond repair to live with or even near your mother. Your brother has apparently figured out how to satisfy his feelings of obligation and/or love for Mother and still maintain his own independence. That should be the goal.

You are doing the right thing to continue to tell her to take her medical problems to medical professionals. You mean well by looking up suggestions for her, but it is a waste of time. Stop it.

she built in all your buttons and she certainly knows how to push them. If you find it too difficult to resist, perhaps consider some counseling sessions with a therapist.
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Sissisu, I don't have any good advice, but I nodded all the way through what you wrote. I know exactly what you're going through. Some parents adopt a borderline-like personality when they get older. They are fine as long as you're doing what they want you to, but turn on you when you don't. How old is your mother? Does she really need someone with her all the time? It doesn't sound like she does, so I wouldn't leave my job or home to take care of her. There are too many other options. It sounds most like she needs to either go to an apartment, as you suggested, or to hire a housekeeper. Maybe the housekeeper can also take her to doctor appointments for some extra money.

People who adopt a borderline-like personality often try to control with guilt, saying things like "I'm in pain and no one cares" or "I'll be dead soon." There is normally some truth to what is being said, but it is greatly exaggerated to try to cause guilt. And yes, it is what they are trying to do -- show you how bad you're being by not wanting to help them right now.

It sounds to me like you're doing exactly what you need to be doing in telling her to call the doctor. If the sciatica continues, she may want to start having epidural injections (spinal block) to see if they give some relief. Some people with sciatic nerve pain swear by these injections, while others are not helped. It is worth a try. Much luck and big hugs. And don't quit your job!!!
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