What to do? 66 year old mother is mean 3 year old! Long post...need wisdom.

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I know this is going to take up more than 5000 characters! I'm a bit overwhelmed and not sure what I should do or even if I should do anything.

First: I'm the oldest of 4 children and I'm 45. In my professional life I'm a senior military officer and considered tough but ideal. When it comes to my family, however, I'm a pudding. I couldn't have children so my sister...a born leech...has used her children as a method of digging into my pockets for the last 23 years. I love them, however, and being able to influence them positively has made it worth it. I'm not married, though I once was when young. No relationships for the last decade or two, just work and my animals. My other sister is an excellent RN with a nice family. My brother I don't know about. I only know he's alive because every few years banks or car agencies call me to try to get money...which I give up...rather than cause the family stress. I've been the rock for the family, so to speak, but have spent the majority of my own life worrying about taking care of things because it is very much a one way street.

Now for my mother. She was a selective abuser, which I understand is common. As the oldest, I was her selection. She was an astonishingly vicious abuser in a physical, mental, emotional and every other way to me. When I got big enough to turn around and say, no more or I'll hit back, she got rid of me. I spent the rest of my formative years in a reformatory and never came back home again. I worked my way up, was homeless as a kid so I could use my money for school, worked hard, did well and then made a very successful career. Starting about 15 years ago, when she realized I was successful, she started making steps toward acting like everything was fine. Long distance. I wanted her to love me, of course, but I'm also very aware that her love is predicated on strict adherence to her delusions of a perfect self and no mention of her darker side. In the few times she visited me, if I did something she didn't like she would cross her eyes and glare at me and start with the nasty talk. As an adult, I will not tolerate it and was not at all tactful in telling her to stuff it. We reached an uneasy peace where I don't challenge her delusions and she doesn't try to control me. That lasted well until a couple of years ago when Mom got sick.

She got lung cancer. She is not, and has never been, a smoker. She is just one of the unlucky ones. She had the third lobe of a lung removed and it was found so early and was the least dangerous kind so she didn't even need chemo. She recovered completely...or should have.

But, my mother is also the laziest person on the planet of this earth and truly believes that it is her right for all persons she created to flit around her serving her needs.

She was fat and though she worked a job, once she came home her butt was planted on a couch and directing us to bring her this or do that. Our saturdays as children consisted of her sitting watching tv and screaming out directions for what we should clean next and beatings if it wasn't perfect. She required a house clean enough to eat off the floor but didn't do any of it herself. Once we left, she kept her own house but mostly by not moving things or dirtying them. All things must remain exactly as they are. Dusting would occur at some point but it wasn't the perfect place she had while she still had house slaves.

This laziness took an even more drastic turn as she now had "her cancer" to use as an excuse. Eventually, she moved to Florida into a house right by my sister...the nurse. For the past several years she has eaten her main meal of the day at her house. She will only peck at junk food the rest of the day. And her modus operandi is to show up, sit on her couch and direct the bringing of food and drinks. Not one time in all those years has she even offered to help or do dishes or even clear a table.

About 2 years ago, she began to go downhill, complaining of pain. She also took to her bed. Though she still worked, she used the new rules about people with chronic conditions to not go to work very often and simply use me to give her money each money to make her bills. She laid in bed for about 1.5 years every single moment she wasn't at work or eating at my sister's house.

I'm running out of room so I'm going to continue on another note. I just have to get this all out....

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....continued...

She has had every test known to man...literally...and the only thing they could find was very mild arthritis. She also responded to pain innappropriately or falsely. So, if the doc says, well, if it is this problem then this will be painful and he'll tap somewhere. She'll scream dramatically and then he'll tell her that was actually for kidney stones and she shouldn't have felt anything. She'll then have elaborate reasons why that tap hurt by jiggling her cancer scar or something. It is clear that she actually feels pain, but it is also clear that it is entirely in her head. And even real pain, such as from bumping a hand on a counter or something, is not realistically felt and apparently she feels like I would feel getting an arm chopped off just to bump her hand. It was determined she is suffering from depression of a type that exaggerates pain.

It also appeared that she might have had a TIA though no evidence could be found for it after the fact, we are taking it at face value that it could have happened. It seemed unlikely because the lost weight meant she no longer had HBP, no more high cholesterol and her type 2 diabetes appeared to be completely gone, though they kept her on the meds for some reason despite having low blood sugar when she took the meds.

She was very angry about that and wouldn't admit she was depressed. You see, her father committed suicide when she was 18. His note blamed everyone else for his sadness and said that they made him do it. Her mother is a hermit who was a slut after divorcing and put her daughters in danger quite frequently. She is asocial and quite mean but healthy, well and living on her own quite nicely at 89. So, of course she wouldn't admit to being depressed.

She lost weight and lost all her muscles. She is "wasted" and has NO muscle anywhere on her below the waist at all. She began to have falls as the muscles wasted away. No injuries but maximum drama. Everyone told her, me, my nurse sister and her doctors...everyone...that she was doing this to herself by just laying in bed all the time but she would not listen. What I didn't know was the full extent of the degradation in her circumstances...remembering that I work 7 days a week, deploy and don't visit her on her territory.

At some point in this evolution I said that she really couldn't live on her own anymore. Everyone, of course, looked right at me. I have a big house and, as they say, "no family". Of course, my nieces and nephew were too old now to come stay with me on weekends so that was true. Two of the girls are moving back in with me to go to college so not entirely true. Plus, they pointed out, I had the financial means since I "didn't need my money for anything. You just work". So awesome.

As things went, I was already paying to make up for the bills she wasn't paying and providing all the extras in her life so I would actually probably be cheaper. Plus, she kept saying that my sister...call her H...she is the nurse, wasn't "helping her". It is true that H is very busy this year getting her first daughter off to college and trying to do it up right, but seriously, she has had to cook for this woman every night for the last 5 years or more. She's probably sick of it. Plus, I wasn't entirely convinced at this point that all of it was a self induced as I came to realize. I just couldn't imagine anyone doing that to themselves, you know?

So, my leech sister, call her J, actually bucked up and went down for a weekend to start the packing process and put what she didn't need for the last month she was there in storage. My mom was a nightmare convinced that every piece of paper was somehow valuable, every moth eaten book a treasure and all of that. Plus my sister came back in shock. The house was filthy with poop smears all over the furniture, dirt everywhere, roaches (that part of florida is really covered with them) and just trash stuffed everywhere. My mother seemed unable to grasp that she was living in squalor. Utterly delusional.

The next month, I went to go down and move her up, putting the rest of her stuff in storage until we could figure out what could come and what had to go. She was again, a nightmare. She was convinced that her feces smeared couch was perfectly okay and should come into my already full, but very nicely furnished, home. Her mattress was a nightmare of feces. She wasn't wearing underwear or controlling her leaking bowels at all. She stunk and she was a ghost of paleness. She held onto walls and couldn't even get to her kitchen...or so I thought. I couldn't believe she was this bad and I was, though I didn't say it, very angry with my sister H for not noticing or telling us or doing anything at all. But H was adamant that this was just her being dramatic and that Mom was depressed but refused to seek help.

During my stay my Mom had a massive bout of running poo all over the bed and floor in the middle of the night. I was so disgusted I tried to sleep in my car. I was also mad because she had not at all been honest with me about her situation. I asked her did she think that was appropriate? Did she think that she could just do that at other people's homes? When it came down to her furniture I pointed to the poo smears and asked her if that was how she intended to treat my home? She seemed genuinely confused as if it were normal. This is the same woman who would beat me half to death for leaving a streak on a mirror or a book out of alignment with the other books on a shelf. I was utterly confused, shocked and angered.

Turns out she hasn't been wearing underwear or being at all discreet about not doing so, wearing dresses and putting her legs up on couches and all sorts of stuff and not using toilet paper. Filthy stuff. She said we were stripping her of her "nice" things by getting rid of those. I flatly told her that it wasn't coming into my house and nothing infested with bugs, mold, filthy or feces was welcome there. And that I certainly wouldn't pay to keep a crap covered suite in storage! She reluctantly agreed but made life miserable for a bit.

I had to sit down with her and re-negotiate the terms of her living with me. Her original terms were that she would do whatever she should in the house, take care of what she could and live her life. Clearly she wasn't even capable...according to her...of even feeding herself. The new terms were that she MUST bathe properly each day, she MUST follow doctors orders with respect to rehabilitation and medication, she MUST wear underwear and not share her waste with others on furniture or floors by wearing diapers if and when needed and she MUST use toilet paper or wipes.

I softened this by ensuring she knew that I fully understood that she needed time to gain strength. That her stated desire to "do everything she could" would be limited as she worked her issues. That I would help.

Moving in was less traumatic that I thought it would be. It was hard for her...she kept saying she was losing her independence and would get a bit teary about it. Once she grasped that she had gained independence rather than lost it she felt better. She was stuck working and still not able to pay her bills because she never went, lived in squalor with more debt each month and she had unwisely spent all her 401K on expensive custom furniture which was now trash due to be covered in bodily waste. Now all her financial needs were taken care of, she lived in a nice house, she got money from me and all she needed to do with her SS was take care of working down her debt. She was free.
...continued...

For about 4 to 6 weeks it seemed like she would rally. I got her signed up at the most expensive and nicest club in the 7 cities and she started Swim Arthritis classes and walked the swim lanes a few times after to build strength. 3 times a week. She actually assisted in cooking a few times and she seemed more upbeat and had more color. I got her in for a good hair dyeing and shaping and she looked better and felt better.

She, at first, needed me to help push her on the butt as she went up the stairs though I could see that she didn't really need it. After about a month of the pool work, she no longer needed it. She has more trouble with it, grunting and groaning, when she is wanting attention, but she doesn't know I have a camera in the house at the stairway that I can see on the internet. She gets up and down those stairs like a champ when I'm not home.

But then the "Squatting Toad Phase" came on. She began to complain of her pain getting worse. Again, every screening known to man showed that she had only the mildest of arthritis and excellent bone density (less arthritis and better bone density than me due to years of metal decks and military work). They did find a slight inflammation of her sacroiliac joint on one side which can cause pain, but not to the extent she is reporting it.

For the last 3.5 months she has sat on the couch and watched TV. The few little jobs she has agreed to do include the shredding (which does not require her to even get up to do) and making calls for things if needed. I even have a maid twice a week to clean the house, including her room, so she has started not bothering to even pick up after herself. She has even stopped doing those. She said that she wanted to do the mail too but then she did it maybe twice and the rest of the time, she "forgets". She won't even bring in packages, leaving them to soak in the rain after the UPS man knocks.

A few times I have come home earlier than expected and I have found her in bed. She claims that she "just laid down" but the massive bed head rats in her hair give her away. She smells bad but claims she is taking showers and she still isn't using toilet paper or wipies all the time. She comes out of the bathroom with the back of her pants all wet and when I say something, she claims it was just that one time she forgot. Every time it is just that one time. My beautiful furniture is going to be tossed out very soon if she keeps that up. I put a towel and sheet down on it for now but....

She also wants a different room so she can have a suite. The second bedroom, one that shares a wall with my room is the same size as the master. It is large and well situated, plus I can hear her if she has a problem. She wants the FROG room which is the largest room in the house and the size of a one bedroom apartment. She wants to put her furniture in there (along with me buying her a new bed and she wants a $4000 mattress) and have it all set up for her sitting room and so on. That room is the play room and used to be the girls' room. It has storage closets that have the pantry and all the longer term storage that can go nowhere else, plus the sewing room, guest beds, office and library. It also is where my die'ing cat has some safety at night from her cat.

But she wants it all out so she can have it. I haven't been able to get it all relocated but I've thrown away most of my own possessions there to make room. I just have so little time. And she won't even make her bed and the mess she makes is terrible. She leaves everything for the maid like a pig would. She can't take care of that room. No way.

She is also getting mean. Every single thing I do she has to say something negative about. After 12 hours of work where I don't even get to eat lunch, I still come home and cook for her and clear up the messes she makes. After putting her food on the table, she doesn't say anything nice and she waits till I sit down before saying something like, "Well, this is fine, but you forgot butter." There is always a but.

She has stopped doing anything at all save sitting down and because she is lying to me about her showers, her toilet habits and her exercise, I really can't believe anything she says. She has me hopping up and down and serving her for the entire time I'm home. The moment I come home she spends exhaustive amounts of time telling me how hard her day was sitting there and watching TV with her bed head and pillow marks on her face and the mess of food around her and the fast food wrappers not well hidden in the trash. While I'm exhausted and still in my uniform.

In terms of her bathroom habits, I buy her bulk Silhouettes so she has an unlimited supply of them. She likes them and hasn't had a mess on the floor or bed. However, she uses them instead of being clean. She doesn't change them as much as she should and if they get nasty, she just keeps wearing it. Her problem is bowels not pee...again, the doc said she has bowels like a teen, clean and perfect. It is sheer laziness.

...and finally....

Believe me, I've wanted to shout for her to get up off her lazy butt and do it herself, but I haven't. I grin and bear it because I just don't know what more I can do. I've provided her with the best life she has ever had and instead of gratitude, she uses me like a slave even though I work more than 80 hours a week and haven't had a day off in over a year. Even on my mandatory vacation days (I've built up so many that I have to take them) I still have to work from home. That's just the lot of a military officer though so I don't resent it.

On top of that, I'm transferring to DC in January. She will be alone in the house (with the girls should they actually move in). She has steadfastly refused to do any learning of how to do the things like set the alarm or anything like that. Yet she claims she is just fine and will be able to do this. No...she is actually expecting that two 18 year old girls going to college will become her houseslaves while I'm gone during the week.

Things too a bad turn the other day. We have a couple of tropical storms coming up and that means a lot more work for me so I came home late. One of my favorite things to eat is pork chops and hers too so I had thawed some out. That night I came home, exhausted and I just looked at them in the fridge and remarked to Mom that it was ironic that we get storms right when I want to cook porkchops because it was too late to do it now and I don't know when I would get to. To me that was just a remark. To her it was, apparently, a criticism of the worst kind. I had no idea.

The next night I came home, again exhausted, to the smell of pork chops cooking and I hollered out that it smelled awesome. I ran right in there and said how grateful I was and how nice it was of her to cook them! But she didn't look up at me. She just kept stabbing the chops really violently in the pan. Then she looked up at me with her eyes crossed (she does that when she is ready to hit you not because she has to) and gritted teeth and said that she was furious with me. I asked why...I really had no idea...and looked around to see what might be wrong. What did I forget? What did I do? She said that she wasn't going to tell me what I did right then but that she wanted it clear she was angry.

While I took off my boots and took the dogs out to pee, she apparently finished because when I came back inside there was my food on the table but not for her. I asked her why wasn't she eating. She said she already did. I told her I didn't feel comfortable with whatever was going on. She just said for me to sit down and eat. I sat down but I really felt awkward with her at my back, just glaring at me. Finally I just picked up my knife and fork and went to cut into the chop and she yelled at me from behind that she was sick of being my slave and taken advantage of and did I like my dinner. That she felt like one of my troops and not my mother.

I actually couldn't believe what I was hearing. I asked her what in the world she was talking about. She then said that when I made that remark about the pork chops she just "knew" I was being judgemental of her and that it was meant for her. She also said I didn't ask her politely enough to make the call to a museum about picking up my piece of art that was in the exhibit that was ending (I didn't paint it, I just own it). I responded that I wasn't talking about her and why would I be...that was her own guilty thoughts not mine. (It really was since I meant it as irony about work, not her since she hasn't so much as looked at cooking for 3.5 months and assisted only 6 or 8 times prior to that.

As for the art, I reminded her that I had asked politely two weeks prior and she had agreed to do it but hadn't. I had only reminded her. She looked shocked for a moment and then started in on me about reminding her of things and what a nag I was. I told her that I only reminded her because she constantly forgot and she doesn't like notes. She asked what she didn't do and I said, putting the things you want on the grocery list, wiping yourself with toilet paper, not leaving dirty diapers on her counters and in her room, committing me to things during work hours, when she needs gas, when she needs meds, taking her meds, washing her clothing....need I go on? (She doesn't have dementia of any sort...she had brain scans too after the supposed TIA that she reported having just after having seen a PSA about it. The doctor says it is because she doesn't pay attention to anything that doesn't directly affect her immediate needs or wants.)

By the time I got done with my list I realized that she was just trying to manipulate and control me. That I had begun to disengage from constantly encouraging and praising her for everything because it didn't work and she wanted to ensure that she remained the sole focus of my life. I saw her again for who and what she is: mean, selfish and extremely warped.

I told her I didn't want anything of her and that if she actually considered getting the mail and making a phone call every month or so to arrange something was slavery then I can't imagine what low form of life I was. Working like a dog and paying for everything and tending to her until I went to sleep, just to get up and do it again. That if slavery was staying in bed for 12 hours a day with books, audiobooks and a phone and then sitting on a couch watching TV for 11 more with 1 hour making a mess in a bathroom then where could I sign up for it.

I talked to my sister H that night and she said she knew this would happen. That I needed to send her to a nursing home because she doesn't perform for herself the basic care items she couldn't go to assisted living. I can't do that. I really can't. H said that mom is permanently warped and there is nothing that can be done for her....she will always strive to be the lazy queen bee with all those around her serving her needs while she sits. That I could, if I was stupid, get her to a psychiatrist for heavy meds and diagnostics but that you can fix personality disorders. At best, hard work and self discipline can dampen them but that Mom would never do that work or self editing.

She is right.

That night I went in and gave my mom a kiss good night and told her that I was sorry we fought but I was not sorry of what I said. That I didn't know what the future held.

When I came home from work yesterday she was at the door and reaching out for a hug and kiss. I told her to get away from me very quietly. She said..."but you came up and gave me a kiss goodnight..." I said, there are consequences to actions and I wanted nothing of her. She just went back and sat down in front of the TV....where she had been all day and paid not one more bit of attention.

I went in and cooked myself what I wanted to eat for the first time in 5 months. Red and green bell peppers sauted into eggs with crispy thick bacon. I got a plate, when into the living room, picked up the remote and turned the channel to what I wanted to watch. After a few bites, I just called out over my shoulder that there was more on the stove if she wanted it. She got a plate and then after she was done she said "thank you. It was very good." I cleaned up the kitchen and watched TV and then got the cat to bed (he has kidney failure and I've had him since he was 2 days old. He is 17). Then I walked the dogs and got them up to bed with me. I locked up and set the alarm. I never saw her and we didn't speak.

But now I'm in a quandry. What are the consequences? Do I become the "boss" or do I let her manipulate and control my life like she does? Do I put my foot down on rules? Do I ignore her?

She clearly does NOT want to be a part of the family unit, doing her share...no matter how small that share might be. This is not even a question or source of doubt. She wants to be served she doesn't want to share. The small tasks like shredding and mail she will not do and those are just about as easy as it gets.

She is entirely capable of caring for herself in terms of hygiene, she just doesn't. She is entirely capable of cooking and cleaning...she just doesn't. She is entirely capable of having a life...she just doesn't.

My inclination is to tell her that she can choose her path, but she must live with the path she chooses. If she chooses to be a part of this family then she'll adhere to the rules about hygiene, continuing with strengthening and doing her part, however small that may be, with a willing and cheerful heart. If not then she is nothing more than a nuisance tenant. That she has a room and she will share a bathroom with the girls (when they move back in) and that she will be entirely responsible for her maintenance. That she will stay in the room she is in because at least the girls will be assisting in caring for the house and they can take the suite for themselves. They will, at least, be members of the family.

I feel like I should ensure she knows that it is her choice...no one elses...that she is curling up to die in front of a TV and that it is NO one elses problem. If she insists on just being the Couch Toad then I don't want to interact with her. That she needs to be upstairs and out of my view by the time I get home from work so that the hour or two I have to cook, eat and rest before sleeping is NOT governed by a lazy and complaining woman who is perfectly healthy yet lives like a victorian invalid.

Am I wrong to want her to make the choice of what role she chooses to play in our life? Am I too hard? Am I wrong to insist on civil behavior or, if that can't happen, that she vacate shared spaces while I'm home?

I also want to make it clear to her that I will continue to provide her living as long as she is able to care for her personal self but that once she can't, she will have to go to a nursing home. I never thought to do that, but I honestly think that she is doing the not wiping and mess making for spite and not because she can't because she does it JUST FINE when at other's homes or on cruises or whatever.

I apologize for the length of this. I really do. I've read hundreds of posts here but not answered and found that people wind up making lots of clarifications until the whole story finally comes out. I just thought I would get it all out up front. Thanks for any advice!
The post is long, but the answer is short: Put her in a nursing home.
Really? Oh gosh...that is not the path I wanted to go. She has NO money at all now. Just her SS and a bunch of debt.

Also, I should clarify that we finally got her on anti-depressants several weeks ago and I believe it is that her cloud is lifting that is letting her mean-ness come out.
What path did you want to go, ChristyDist.

Plenty of people who have no assets and little income are in nursing homes.

Perhaps you could rephrase the question. What is it you want "wisdom" about?
How best to handle the situation of her being in my home.

The last part of longest post ever gives the options I'm looking at. I don't think 5 months is enough time to fully "get situated" and I would like to salvage as much of the situation as I can. I don't need her approval, I just want to ensure she is cared for.
I've re-read it. The best way to handle having your mother in your house is to move her out of your house.

Five months isn't enough time for her to settle in? Oh, I thnk she is settled in just fine, thanks. And a lifetime won't be enough time for her to settle in on your terms. (Look up the fable of the scorpion and the frog, if you don't already know it.)

What really bothers me here is that you are considering bringing two young ladies who will need to focus their energy on attending college and all that entails into a environment where they you know (not think, know) that they will be treated as house slaves by their abusive mentally ill grandmother. And you won't even be there to act as a buffer or to protect them. Wow!
Listen to Jeanne- she is probably the best judge of character and is hands on in her suggestions. As I was reading I was wondering why you are allowing her to do these things in your home.
You have made a good life for yourself, this will only get worse as she ages. She acts like she owns the place. Save yourself. Put her in a nursing home or AL. Then live your life in peace. Hugs.
Do you realize that she has chosen what she wants and has got you providing for her outrageous behavior!? You have made a successful career for yourself, a nice life, and a great home. Why would you let her take that from you? You cannot change who she is, you can only change yourself and how you react to her BS. to do that, you surely must need some help. Please seek some pro help to get you started on your own path of emotional wellbeing and extrication from your moms insanity. Having your mom in your home is not workable for any of
you, even the poor old kitty. The young ladies deserve help with a start in life. Mom had her chance. Perhaps she needs one of the many dr's. To refer her for a full psych assessment. Print your great explanation here and have dr. Send it w/ referral - make that specific request. Take another cc with you for your own appointment with a counselor to overcome the impact of mom's emotional blackmail. I promise it will be well worth the time and effort. If you need to go outside your insurance to feel comfortable, it would be life changing money well spent. I hope you will try to take some steps in the interests of yourself and nieces. At the least, could you visit a county domestic violence agency for an educational session to see if they can help you understand more about how power and control can cross into many types of abuse, including emotional. Please do this for yourself! Kimbee

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