Elderly mother wants to monopolize my free time with responsibilities or mundane amusement.

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My elderly mother feels my part time job is interferring in the time I spend with her and makes the attempt to emotionally manipulate me with feelings of guilt. She lives independently with COPD and a few mobility issues. She complains she never gets to see me and is lonely. My sister takes her weekly for grocery shopping which they both make a good time of. The time I spend with her is either for transportation or sitting around in her house expecting me to entertain her. I refuse to do any of her housekeeping because she can afford to hire someone to do it. She has no friends and will not consider any outside interests. I live an hours drive away and feel the free time I do have to be spent enjoying life's activities with her instead of being her taxi or in home entertainment committee. She entirely dismisses my suggestion of in home care. I have limited my time with her from once a week to once a month due to my job and her neediness codependency. She thinks it is due to my job and wants me to either limit my hours or quit to spend more time with her. My choosing to work is more for my self worth than financial. I also have responsibilities to my home, husband and pets. I want to be able to maintain a healthy balance in my life without her expecting me to utilize my time for her individual wants and needs. I want our time together to be enjoyable not regrettable. I have suggested many fun things to do, but she shows no interest. She has no dementia, views life negatively and has no interests other than reading and television.

27 Comments

Debralee, can I be honest? From the things you write in several of your posts, you are not a caregiver and you don't want to be one. The only advice I have is don't be a caregiver if you don't want to be. I don't know what you are looking for from the caregivers in the group.
JessieBelle-I come here to vent. I come here to try and safely express my feelings without being judged or criticzed. I come here to find solace that I am not alone in my feelings and to be able to reach out to others in similiar situations. I take my mother to all her medical appointments and out shopping for fun. My husband and I completely renovated her house to meet her declining needs. I cook extra meals and bring them to her so she does not have to cook. I took her to the lawyers so she could set up her will, DPOA and healthcare proxy. I took her to the funeral home when my stepfather died to help make his burial arrangements. I have taken her back to the funeral so she could make advance burial arrangements for herself. I have picked up items she needed and brought them to her. The list goes on. No, I am not a hands on caregiver, but I think I do qualify as some type of caregiver. I come here when I feel overwhelmed and express my thoughts as a healthy outlet. I do not come here looking to other caregivers for sympathy, it is for my own emotional well-being. I no longer feel I can express myself safely here. You are the third person on this site to negatively attack my comments. This was the only site I felt comfortable with, now I don't even have that! Thanks for your HONESTY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
What is the Common Denominator?
How about a diary? That way, you can go back and reread what you have written to see if things have gotten any better for you. If you are just venting, a diary will work.
By creating a "new discussion," you intentionally bring others into it. Please be honest with yourself and those who go to the care and trouble of answering you.
Debralee, we only have the information you provide for us to work with -- that you resent your mother for bad things in the past and that you don't want to be a caregiver to her. It is fine not to be a caregiver, particularly if you are from a dysfunctional family. You just have to let your mother know you won't be there.

My mother once thought it was my responsibility to support her in her old age, so she didn't have to spend her money. I don't know why the responsibility didn't also apply to my brothers. I simply told her, "That is not going to happen." I think it is the easiest way to say no to a request we feel unreasonable.
I looked up the purpose of Aging Care
quote
"Welcome! The AgingCare.com online caregiver support group is a place where you can ask questions, give answers, exchange messages and get support from other family caregivers who understand exactly what you're going through." Then under "Start a Discussion" is written -"Find Support and Inspiration"
Debralee. I think you are is looking for support. In my time on this website, others have come just to vent and been welcomed.
I appreciate the difficulty of saying "No" to a dysfunctional parent, and as I understand it, you have suffered much more abuse than those of us who have posted in response to you. Even then it took me till I was much older than you to establish the boundaries that I have.
I mean no disrespect to anyone's views, but, I think Debra has as much right to vent here as anyone else.
I do think you qualify as a caregiver, Debra, and I hope you continue to post. I have seen other people "run off" this site and it really distresses me.
I like the saying "Never criticize a man (or woman) until you've walked a mile in his (her) moccasins.
Saying "No" to an abusive parent is often wise, but not always easy.
Blessings to all Joan

One thing I see going on is that the harder Mom pushes you the harder you pull away. It is natural self defense but also leads to a vicious cycle. You should not have to spend ALL your free time with Mom or have to quit your job, especially since that's the issue anyways. One possible way out of the situation would be to plan a little time once a week or so, maybe just reading or watching TV together, but just a regular scheduled time that does not vary often or much. You would be trying to make your visiting time non-contingent on her acting needier, and you'd be there for whatever shows you can stand to watch with her or whatever pre-specified length of time, and then you'd say hey, time for me to go, I'll see you next ____. It might work, though some people will try to hang on to you for bringing up a bunch of chores they really need done, or come up with something emotional engineered to keep you there longer then you need (non) continengcy plans for that too... Staying in there while setting limits is not easy, but it may be better than an all-or-none approach where mom feels nothing but neglected (even though she is really OK) and you feel nothing but resentful. I hope something works for you!
This is DEFINITELY the place to vent! Where else can we do this without people snapping at us, reading us the riot act, telling us off, judging for what we do, and what we don't do. . . OH.

Holy CRAP, did everyone go on the collective rag here? Ladies, grab your Midol! I'm shocked at you. If this was the Victorian era I would seat you on horsehair couches in the parlor and make you think about it for hours until the backs of your legs itched like all insanity, then send you to bed with only tea and bread, no jam, no sugar.

Do we really have to quantify our caregiving now? Shall we all measure our hours, number of diapers, and see who has the most right to brag or complain? *insert eye roll* Like Joan said, learning to lay down the boundaries and then to finally say that word "no". It's something that can only come with time and practice. It takes forever just for us to feel ourselves out and find appropriate boundaries, do you know why? BECAUSE OUR LOUSY MOTHERS NEVER TAUGHT US HOW! They never taught us to respect ourselves, let alone love ourselves. It's like learning a foreign language.

So, please, dear mother of God and all that is HOLY, LET US FOR CRIMENEY'S SAKE,

VENT!

Have you ever seen the mentos in the bottle of coke? That's what some of us would look like if we did not have this safe place to do so. To find others like ourselves who have suffered the same and offer a soft shoulder and a KIND and listening ear. To know that they are lifting us in thought and prayer. These things are helping us to LIVE through what is our worst nightmare, taking care of someone who emotionally, mentally, verbally, and sometimes or often even physically abused us as children, as young women, and still are now. For some of the women here, it's the ONLY place they have, it's the only women they have ever met who have been there and understand.

If you cannot take it, don't want to hear it, are tired of it, Fine. We invite you to save your own sanity and leave. Absolutely nothing wrong with self preservation. I consider it to be of a very high importance myself.

BUT...

We also ask for respect and that you keep your unkind comments to yourself. More than several of us here have banded together to support and help one another deal with this type of mother. You don't have to be one of us. We are uber cool with that.
What is unkind? You never know when a different perspective or idea is going to reach someone and help them. Is only one type of response suitable?
I am still thinking about the "unkind." I see anger, but not unkindness. I guess we all read things differently.
Those of us who have been abused are very sensitive, incredibly sensitive. RAW. We are the people who burst into tears for what most perceive as nothing, and then we tend to run away and hide. People have been talking about us since we were children, "what the heck is wrong with that girl?".

Personally when it happens to me, I won't just run away and hide, I'll curl into a little ball and call myself stupid and other names for opening up and telling too much and what was I thinking, they must be right and I will castigate myself a million ways. Three years ago I was laying physical cuts into my body as punishment for being so stupid. I used to have to have surgeries to close them. I will have three years cut free on May 8th because I won't let anyone's words drive me that far again.

So what you may see as nothing, just another way to talk to someone, has the chance to cause someone else real pain. And I won't sit back and let anyone do it to her. Call me a witch. I'm a protective witch.

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