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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You are trying to GET her to love you. She can't. She's sick! She's too old to change EVEN if she wanted to. You want someone here to validate you and all your caring you have provided for this woman (she has not been a mother). You need to get her out of your home. You need to accept that you have done well despite her and move on in life. Sorry if this is harsh, but it is true. Some people are just toxic. I have a father like that and you unfortunately have a mother like that.
Enjoy life, it is much to short to subject yourself to this. It is not your responsiblity! For some reason it seems you have let so many family members use you. Why?????? Look inside yourself and find the answer. Move on and find someone worthy of you. You are obviously a caring dedicated person and there is someone out there who does deserve this and will have your back.
Let mom go....don't look back!
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I cannot think of any better solution than the one suggested by others. You seem to be such a decent person and deserve so much better. I looked for a reason that justified her staying, but couldn't find a single one. Your situation makes me think of something I said to my brother when I first considered moving home to take care of my parents. "They almost destroyed me when I was a kid. I am not coming back to let them finish the job."
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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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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.
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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!
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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.
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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?
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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.
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The post is long, but the answer is short: Put her in a nursing home.
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...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!
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