My mom doesn't respect my privacy and things.

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After my dad died 5 years ago, my mom was depressed. Refused to eat, erratic sleeping pattern, etc. Not long after, one of sisters was incapacitated & her college best friend died. So we now live together, along with my married sister & her husband, to keep her company. She's always a "strong" character & a control freak, & when my father was still alive she pretty much decided everything: what he ate, what he wore, etc. She's old fashioned in a sense that she refused to talk to a therapist to deal with her loss & loneliness, but she unleashes on strangers (bank clerks, for example) & me. I suspect this is because I'm the youngest & unmarried. She always prides herself on not putting her nose into her married daughters' lives. But it has gone too far. Whenever I'm away whether for business or holiday, I would go home to find my things rearranged, thrown away, or stuff that I've thrown away made it way back. Some things would also go missing because she would bring in a cleaner who then took away some of my stuff including my first diamond earrings (which was in a locked wardrobe, btw). I told her this is very hurtful & I don't like her to go through my things & bring strangers into my living space without letting me know. She always brushes this off & never apologizes. She always has to have her way. One time when I had to leave for a holiday, I left my keys with my sister & told her not to give it to our mother. She bullied my sister into giving her the keys. Another time I just took the keys with me & I came home to find she somehow managed to get an alternative set of keys. So when I recently went on a holiday, I refused to give her my keys & she insisted because she said she would have to clean it. Knowing that she would get in anyway, I gave it to her but I told her that please please don't let anyone in because I don't want to lose stuff anymore & respect my privacy & things. She agreed. Well surprise, I came back home to see everything not in its place, my posters were taken down, the contents of a wardrobe moved to the drawers of my writing desk, etc etc (you get the point), & of course all my cash were missing, along with some clothes & makeup. I later found out from my sister that she again brought in a cleaner (a new one) who had since been fired from stealing. I was outraged. I confronted her about this & again she didn't apologize & was just shocked for a couple of minutes before returning to her TV show. I was tired from the 23-hour flight & yet I had to spend 2 subsequent nights looking for my things. I have had it. I don't want to be mean to her, but she obviously doesn't respect me or my things. I feel bad for her loss, but to ruin my life so that she can have some control back in her life is just plain selfish when she knows that we put up with her antics & that I work very hard for my money. I've talked to my sister (her favorite) to see if she can talk to our mother about this but she's reluctant because she doesn't want to upset her especially since she's more fragile & sickly now. (easy for her to say, our mother doesn't just enter her room without knocking at 10 pm to tell her that she's going to the bank with mom, like it or not).
I'm going to talk to her about this (again) once I'm calmed down, but I doubt talking would make a difference since obviously it had not make a dent. What to do?


I just wondered why you remain there. From the sounds of it, your mother could live independently with someone checking in on her. You have a job and money, so don't depend on your mother. Find yourself a place close by. You've asked repeatedly that she respect your space and have been ignored each time. It is up to you to establish your boundaries. I would do it in a completely different place. You cannot change your mother from what you've written, but you can change your own circumstance. I would move as soon as I could.
I completely agree with JessieBelle.

If you can't move...see about a little remodel. Plaster in current door and make a doorway on an outside wall. Install a steel door with double deadbolts and no one has a key but you. Far fetched but you have got to do what you have to do!

Good luck!
You don't say much about your Mom except the mention of depression. Her behavior doesn't sound like just depression, are you sure there isn't something else going on? And I agree with Jessie and 'little' move out on your own. And, never give her the key to your new place. There may be some time in the future that will require another change of living situation, but it doesn't appear to be necessary at this time. You don't mention her age or yours that may give us a better picture.
The thing is, my mom is too proud to ask for help when it comes to the more important things. She doesn't tell us what's bothering her, she doesn't really open up & tell us her feelings. Whenever she's ill (like she is at the moment), she doesn't listen to medical advice, refuses to eat. Sometimes she doesn't even tell us when something's wrong. I've been thinking of moving out for quite a while, but I was afraid that if something happens I would regret it. I also thought she would benefit emotionally by having someone in the house and in a way she does, but obviously it's not working out for me. So yes, I think I'll be looking out for a new place now like you said, Jessie. I'm just wondering if the chat is still worthwhile since it's not going to have any impact on her behavior.
Repeating the same action over and over and expecting a different result is not a productive use of your time and your emotional energy. Chatting with Mom will change nothing. You have plenty of history to demonstrate that.

If you have put up with this behavior for five years, I guess it isn't just Mom who has a problem. She doesn't listen to medical advice when she is sick? And does she listen to it when you are living with her? The problems you describe don't seem to be solved with you living with her.

Certainly you need to move out. If you need some help with that perhaps a counselor can help you think through your options. Living with a strong character and a control freak can make it hard to cut the apron strings. Get a little support if you need it.

Come back and let us know how this is going for you.
Wow. What a manipulator. What do you think is going to improve your situation?
Only you. I would be running from the room screaming to a permanent holiday anywhere. Please learn Boundaries and Tough Love. We support your healthy choices and autonomy:)
This type of behavior is maddening. My MIL lived with us for 6 months, and just moved to her own place. She started doing this the first week she moved in. She seemed to feel she knew best where things should go and how they should be done. No amount of asking nicely, and eventually, not so nicely, worked. You cannot reason with someone like this. They are very controlling and manipulative. My feeling was she really didn't have an unwaivering belief that something had to be done a certain way. She just had to have it her way. You need your own space. I cannot tell you how relaxing this week has been without the added stress. I am sure MIL misses having someone to boss around and complain to everyday. But, I could not continue to sacrifice my family for her comfort. I would get my own place and set some boundaries.
Thank you all. I'll keep you posted.
geewiz: She's 74 but her health has been deteriorating really fast ever since dad died that she just feels and looks older. She has dropped 4 dress sizes, almost all her teeth are gone by now, she's too weak to climb stairs (although we caught her several times rummaging through stuff in the attic. Yep, she's a hoarder, too), and actually when I was away her doc told her to check herself into a hospital for a swollen lung but she flat out refused to spend a night in a hospital (my dad died in a hospital). Her doc finally gave up and told her she could stay home but have a complete, total bed rest. It's as if she's just given up on life, it's frustrating. I'm 39, btw
What are your plans, pinayk?
jeanne: I'm looking through the listings for a place. Hopefully I can move out soon. She doesn't know I'm looking, though. But definitely I have to leave. I came to live here to give her company and to have a better relationship with her (we were never close plus we lived in different cities & countries for quite awhile when I was younger) but the more I spend time with her the more I feel irritated & upset by so many things. To be honest today I'm still too upset to even have a normal conversation with her. She said she wanted to talk to me, & I had high hopes she was going to apologize about the latest incident but what was I thinking, of course she didn't. Should've known better. I think I got my stubborn gene from her. Sorry I need to vent.

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