My 83 year old mother lives with me and is very controlling.

Started by

I took my mother in to live with us 7 years ago. She is very negative, and cries if we leave the house. If she does not get her way she says she is in the way and not part of our family and says to put her in a home. I feel trapped and can`t spend alone time with my husband and 2 kids..We take her everywhere with us because she will pout and say we are leaving her out..Someone help me!


Stacie, she sure sounds like she has put the guilt trap on you. It has probably served her well. What works for me with my mother is to answer in a totally silly way. Like if she said I could put her in a home, I would agree and say I'd call them right away. She knows I am kidding when I answer her this way, but it lets her know that I'm not walking into her guilt trap. Maybe you can find something like this that works with your mother. You do need time away from her to keep your sanity. We all need time of our own.
She needs her own friends, and a boyfriend. Very simple.
Tell her to get a life while she is still alive. That should go over well:)))
Take her to a community center and the library. A booklet usually comes in the mail every season about community activities for every age group. There are lots of lonely men who hang out in the library. Don't ask me how I know. LOL.
First off, I say, hire a caregiver to be with her so you can take off as needed.

Second, your Mom sounds like she is afraid - maybe the result of dementia. Is she diagnosed with anything? Is she ambulatory? Does she help with cooking or around the house? Depending upon her cognitive abilities, you need to sit down and tell her that you love her, but you also need time away from her to be with your family - ALONE. Set a boundary. Let her know that there is no option.

Are you her only child? If not, where are your sibs?
Does Mom have dementia? Even so, you can't let her ruin your life.

Jessiebelle is right that silly or joking answers can work. You need to take control of the conversation.

Try this, maybe. "Mom, we're going out tonight. We're not taking you with us. We have set up X, Y, and Z for your comfort and entertainment. Tomorrow, we have planned a treat for you, which is A and B. Are you ready to start crying now? Here's your box of tissues. Don't cry too long. That will cause a headache."

"That's right, you're in the way. Pick up your feet so I can vacuum under them."

"Yes, Mom, we want you to move out and buy a condo in Hawaii so we can come visit you and sleep on your couch."

"Oh, Mom, you know I love you. Do you worry that I don't care? Today I did A, B, C, and D so you would be happy and well taken care of. I would never abandon you, but we are going to the carnival now. You would hate being there, so we're not taking you. Maybe we can win a prize for you. Do you want us to bring you some cotton candy?"

"While we're gone, you can listen to Lawrence Welk as loud as you want to, but no drugs and no sex on the couch."

It's a miserable situation, but try to laugh and try to make her laugh. Good luck.
Thanks to all of your ideas...She can drive, cook and clean..But just is very controlling and depressive..I just don`t want to have any regrets in life...Just want her to be happy...My sisters don`t help that much..just talk to me over the phone about it...I am on my own...
Stacie, Seriously - I think you took her in to live with you way too early - unless, of course, the issue of finances were involved. Your mom sounds like she could live by herself.

You need to have boundaries with her. You simply need to identify your needs and tell her. You do not need her approval to go out - she can take care of herself.

Where are her friends? Her community? Have her join the local senior citizen group - or take a class for seniors. Her social activities should not solely revolve around you and your family. Really. It's unhealthy for both of you.

Do you have POA? Can you afford senior living for her? Will your sister take her in ? I think you need to sit down with your sister and come up with a plan. You can simply let your sib know that you are done and that other options have to be created for your mom's care.
I think you need to ask why it is so important for YOU to make her happy. We can't make other people really happy. Isn't it important for you and your family to have some happiness? Your mother sounds like she can do a lot for herself--drive, cook and clean--but she has decided to make you do everything. There is really something wrong with the whole dynamic. Perhaps you can use some counseling to get you on the right track. Go as family, go by yourself. Contact your local hospital for a referral, or a doctor. This situation is not going to get any better as she gets older.
We (human beings) do believe that people can make other people happy or unhappy. In reality, to quote Abe Lincoln, "People are just about as happy as they decide to be." Your mother has gotten you to believe that her unhappiness is your fault. It isn't, not unless you spend time sticking pins into her. Part of you thinks that you shouldn't be happy because your mother isn't happy. The truth is that if you are happy, you can give her more love and better care.
How wonderful you are willing to share your home and life with her. You sound a lot like my daughter having a loving, caring heart. How much "care" does your mom really need? Do you feel you are responsible for your mother's happiness? And does she use this to manipulate you? Happiness is our own choice. Your mother has the right to be as miserable or happy as she wants. If she suffers from clinical depression there are medications that can make a world of difference. Has she been professionally assessed? And perhaps a bit of therapy would help you come up with some new coping solutions. Maybe mom and you can go together. Trick is finding the right therapist. Family therapist might be the way to go since this seems to be affecting your other family relationships as well. Best wishes.
Hi There all, Yes for some reason I feel it is my job to make my mom happy, I simply don`t want any regrets that I will have to live with after she is gone from this earth.I have tried to get her to takl to a therapist..she said that I think she is no point in pushing that idea.. I did sign her up at church for the 55 and up group at church today..It may be a start in the right direction...We will see..Thanks all, Stacie

Keep the conversation going (or start a new one)

Please enter your Comment

Ask a Question

Reach thousands of elder care experts and family caregivers
Get answers in 10 minutes or less
Receive personalized caregiving advice and support