My mom is so angry. She's nice less and less, and I feel like a jerk. Her memory is really bad.

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I'm living in my mom's house, and stayed here when I had boyfriend problems, and it's turned into me being the caregiver. I haven't been able to see my boyfriend in a year, as he's taking care of our pets and can't leave either. I've just started to add shelving units to be able to better maintain this house. I'm messy and she hates that, so I'm adding shelves to try to be neater, as I'm the only one cleaning, or doing anything for that matter. However, there is always hell to pay for every change. It all has to be her way. She plays devil's advocate, is always oppositional and is a perfectionist, and it's never good enough. I can't stay calm, I yell and walk away, and all I can think is that I'm the bad one. I'm stupid, weak, rotten and selfish to get upset with her. See, she's been there for me when things got hard for me, why can't I be a good person? I don't know what to do. She won't go to the doctor, take any medicine and says I hurt her with my attitude. She says she can live alone, and even told me to move out the other day. She says she wants to die. I myself fear I am going to die from the guilt of not doing a better job in this. Interestingly enough, neither of my siblings call to see how I'm doing. Neither has said thank you. I am so lost, I liken it to being sometimes locked in a room with no doors or windows. I'm sure my frustration shows through, and I don't want to get angry. I never hurt her, of course!! I just want to do better but her sadness and anger are soul-crushing. But she's been there for me with my depression. I, however, am going to counseling and I take medicine. I made plans with my dad when I was a kid and he died before they happened. All my plans since then seem like that. I'm afraid to look forward to anything as a jinx. I am looking forward to a decent future with my boyfriend and I'm terrified that means it won't happen. I guess I needed to vent, huh?


You don't say how old Mom is. She needs a good physical. There can be all kinds of reasons for her behavior. Remember, it's her house. At 67 I wouldn't appreciate someone coming into my home and changing things. Sorry, but you are living with her and need to do it her way at this point. If ur are messy than clean up after yourself. If she criticises ur cleaning, don't do it. You have to do the changing, she is too set in her ways.
Joanne, you say, "All I can think is that I'm the bad one. I'm stupid, weak, rotten and selfish to get upset with her." Is that attitude of self-criticism new in this past year while you have been living in her home? Or does it reach all the way back into childhood? Did your parents often belittle you? Did they criticize your person instead of your actions? "Look what you've done! You are so stupid!" instead of "Well, this wasn't a very good decision was it? Let's figure out what you can do to fix it."

You are certainly not a bad or selfish person!! For heavens sakes, girl, you have sacrificed a year of your own happiness and privacy trying to help her. You certainly may do many things "wrong" according to her perception, but that doesn't make you a bad person. That pretty much says you are human.

You went there originally because of "boyfriend problems." Have those problems been resolved? Are you now in a better place mentally to work on resolving those problems? Do you want to? Then take Mom at her word. Move out.

If she needs help cleaning, she can hire that. If she isn't up to cooking, there is a wide selection of frozen dinners and deli meals she can rely on. If she truly needs caregiving that doesn't mean you have to be the person to provide it. If you are worried that she cannot live on her own, explain the situation to Adult Protection Services. Tell them that you can no longer stay with her (you do not have to go into a long explanation -- you just can't devote any more time to living there), you are moving out on such-and-such a date, and you wonder if they can provide some well checks to make sure she is doing OK on her own.

I am very glad to hear that you are in therapy. Keep at it! Take your meds! You are a good person who deserves a chance at happiness.
Dear Joanne,

I'm so sorry to hear about how you are feeling. I know you are trying so hard to help your mom. I wonder if your mom's behaviour is related to an undiagnosed medical situation like diabetes, high blood pressure or a heart problem.

I, too, tried to help my dad. Year after year and things started to escalate after his stroke. I was so angry and frustrated the last year of his life. He didn't want to do anything anymore and was giving up on life. But here I was trying and trying to make this work. I felt so defeated.

In hindsight, I needed to step back. I needed to tell my siblings, the doctor, the counselor or therapist, just someone I needed help. I should have accessed more community resources. But I tried to be the hero and do it all but it was no good for me. And in the end it wasn't good for my father either. He didn't serve to have his daughter become so impatient and indifferent at times. I hope you can find a better balance than I did.
She is 86, has dementia and can't live alone. I'm not changing many things in the house, I added shelving units. I don't move her stuff around, I don't give it away, I am trying to help her. I may not pay rent or for my food, but I also don't get paid for this, and I need to make money, I can't even work full-time anymore because of her condition. Did you not see that I said she refuses to go to the doctor or to take medicine?
The fact that she can't live alone does not equate with "I have to live with her".

As Jeanne advises, call APS and tell them that you are leaving to return to your home.
joanne27, your original post and your profile did not mention that Mother has dementia. Since she refuses to go to the doctor, is that a medical diagnosis, or your conclusion about her behavior?

In any case, you have no obligation to be the one who takes care of her needs. You do not have to give up having an income and having money set aside for your own old age. You do not have to live with a woman whose attitude and behavior you can't cope with.

Both of your siblings have decided not to take responsibility here, and you didn't mention that lightening struck them. By contacting APS or some other agency you will have at least acted in her best interest.

Does your therapist encourage you to stick it out in this very distressing situation?
Dementia is an intelligent assessment by all 3 of her kids, resulting from plenty of research.
It sounds like you are depressed and emotionally exhausted. I would question being in that condition and also being the around the clock caregiver for a person who has dementia. It's a risky situation. Since you say that you suffer from depression and take medication, I'd consult with my doctor about being a full time caregiver for a person who has dementia. It sounds quite risky. I would also seek a medical evaluation for your mom to get proper diagnosis and treatment.

It sounds like your expectations of your mom may not be realistic if she has dementia. People with that condition aren't likely to cooperate, be appreciative, cordial and pleasant. They often are resistant to care, argumentative and challenging to live with. And it gets more challenging as the condition progresses. It has nothing to do with your input. If she has dementia, she has damage to her brain.

Some people are not equipped to be full time caregivers. I'd evaluate if that is really appropriate for you and explore other options.
Well, I'm shaking and fighting back tears after reading your answers. I thought you'd suggest being paid by my family, and offer suggestions for getting my siblings involved. Instead I feel like you are suggesting I am an idiot and a monster. I'm the only one helping my mom, she refuses to go to the doctor, I was just looking for some support and encouragement. The people who know me are suggesting those types of things in the situation.
I don't see anyone in this thread suggesting you are an idiot and a monster or a bad person or incompetent. If you are reading that into our suggestions I am sorry for you. It must be distressing to read criticism into every comment. I assume your therapist is trying to help you overcome this tendency.

You are obviously a caring, compassionate, and intelligent woman. You deserve a shot at happiness. I do not see how you will get that chance in the present situation.

There is no way to force your siblings to contribute financially or to insist that your mother pay you. If you can persuade them to, that's great, but it isn't a very realistic expectation, based on lots and lots of cases that get discussed on this forum.

Keep the conversation going (or start a new one)

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