Mom overvalues/loves housecleaner way more than me.

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I don't get it - my mother extremely values any kindness or consideration from just about anyone but me. I'm practically her house slave right now helping her keep things going, doing all shopping, giving up any free time I might have when I'm not working for her needs and whims. I'm giving up sleep to even be here on the net right now writing this - she finally stops expecting me to interact with her all the time at bedtime. I know I should be grateful for this as some of you don't even get that break. But in any case she's treating this housecleaner like a substitute daughter, caring about every word she says, overpaying her at times. I have no authority or position to fire the housecleaner and even if I did my mother is so attached to her it would cause some serious misery. We went through a few she couldn't abide before this one. If she weren't so attached to her, I'm sure she'd have fired her and have me doing that work too. I'm so sick of feeling invisible and used, feeling valueless because she doesn't have to pay me and expects it all as her right.

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Thank you all so much for your comments and care. I was bracing myself afraid I would get scolded for being The Most Awful Daughter Ever. Sometimes I feel I must be with the feelings I have sometimes.

Freqflyer, I do say "no" sometimes but other times they are things she genuinely needs help with. And the requests are ENDLESS and often couched in such a way that I look like a real jerk if I say no. My mother's dementia is very mild and she's able to be subtly manipulative. I'm also trapped here until I can straighten out my financial situation - if she kicks me out I lose my pets who are like my children. I had always planned to manage her care from distance, but then my health tanked over a period of years and my finances with it. I never dreamed I'd deal with chronic illness for so long early in my life and deal with such a string of incompetent doctors. Don't even get me started. Anyway I'm not just going along with slave role unthinkingly, I feel like I have to for my own self preservation to some degree. People that piss my mother off get cut out cold, and it doesn't take much.

LearningCurve, I'm sorry you have a similar situation. Thank you for saying it - it is hard to remember sometimes who I was before I moved in here or that my life had a direction or meaning outside of this. I still want to do right by my mother, but I worry even if I can get back on my feet she'll always make it hard for me to do so safely for me. I hope you find solutions and strength for your situation too. That thread about the FOG was interesting but the truth is when a parent has installed those buttons in childhood it isn't so easy to remove them and going to therapy is not a cure-all either. Prayers for us both indeed.

Thank you too Hansolos - yes she's the sweetest woman on earth to people who don't know and thanks to Assandache7 yes burning the candle at both ends!
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Remember who needs who...
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Curtain, sounds like the household has gone back in time to where it is once again parent-child dynamics. That will never change no matter how old or successful we get.

As for being a slave in the household, that only happens if you make it happen. Learn to say *no* once in awhile. It could make a huge difference. Yes, I realize it is easier said then done, take baby steps. Example, say *no, not today* if she wants you to go to the store for a couple of items.
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I am sorry your mother is so like mine.
Know: Yes, it is a slap in the face. She is playing you like a fiddle. She knows you will try harder to please her if you come in second on her love list. She is merely pushing the buttons she placed there so many years ago.
My mother would dance on my grave if given the opportunity. She openly and joyfully admits that I am no more than a servant; that's why she had me.
I hope you weather this affliction better than I have. Do not allow her to dictate your life please. You have worth and value over and above your servitude to your mother. You have worth and value to God and to yourself. Do not allow anyone to tell you differently. I'll be praying for us.
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Thanks Hansolos - I wish I could get perspective, but it is so hard when I am giving to her and doing for her till it hurts and is harmful to me that it means next to nothing to her. Oh but she bitches the minute I hold back. I am planning on how to set better boundaries once I no longer live with her, but while I do it is very hard. It just feels like a slap in the face for her moon over this paid stranger. I know anyone reading this would think I don't love her at all - ironically I do, but the anger really drowns it out and I don't know how not to be angry about this stuff.
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I think it's like the kids who are perfect with the babysitter and all rowdy when mom gets home. It's someone they can turn on the charm for who doesn't know the real THEM. You're always the hardest on the ones who love you most. It sucks, but it's just one of those things :/
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