Moving beyond difficult memories.


I'm going on year 12 of taking care of my mother. She's still pretty good for 87 but has always been depressed and negative. She doesn't have any friends and doesn't want any. Also doesn't care for any of her siblings. She only wants me an no one else. She didn't have much time for me till my dad past away and I've become tired of her dependency . How can I move beyond the past? Why can't she see what she's doing to me? I could never do this to my daughter. I was raised to never make my mother cry. My dad catered to her their whole married life. Consequently she's never had to manage on her own. I see many more years ahead for both of us and I desperately need coping skills. She's not going to change and I'm not going to abandon her. Trying not to think ahead but can't help it. Future looks very dismal

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After a good night's sleep and digesting your supportive comments I feel I can stand my ground with my mother and not cave to all her demands. I can't be her best friend, take her out daily, and do all the things I do without losing my sense of self. I read the article about 10 things caregivers feel and it was dead on, every single one. I don't feel like a bad daughter anymore, I feel like a regular person dealing with an enormous task. So grateful I found this site. Love and light to all of you who are dealing the similar challenges.

Thank you for your support and helpful insight. I feel less guilt about my frustration and resentment. My mother lives in an attached mother-in-law apartment and I'm an only child. She is on anti depressants and anti anxiety meds. I am married and my husband is very understanding and constantly offers to take her out so I can have a break. She won't go out with him. If I don't take her out, she just stays in bed and watches television all day. I've been cooking for her since the day she moved here. Sorry to vent so much but I'm toast. She's fairly healthy despite a history of stroke, pneumonia, broken ribs, broken ankle, bilateral shoulder replacements, hip replacement and bilateral knee replacement all since my dad passed away. She's tough physically and always bounces back. She could take greater responsibility for herself for sure but at her age, she will not change and she feels that kids have a "debt" to their parents. She was a hard mother, critical and emotionally absent so consequently, I became very attached to my father. So hard, even after 12 years, to develop any kind of meaningful relationship with her. It's not because she doesn't want one, she does and now she realizes that I'm her only lifeline. And yes, I'm depressed to say the least.
I'm grateful that I found this site. I will continue reading some of the posts on the difficulties of caregiving. That alone helps a lot. Sometimes I wish I could run away and no doubt others feel the same. Again, many many thanks for your appreciated.

I spent most of my life letting my Moms negativity and bleak outlook suck the life out of me. She complained incessantly about my Dad, her health, money, her lot in life and on and on... I felt it was my job to make her happy. For as long as I can remember (I'm talking pre teen)) she treated me like another adult, not her child. I was her sounding board, provided emotional support and was her confidant. I had no sense of self and my happiness hinged on her moods. Her relationship with my two siblings was totally different.

Mom is 82 and as she approached her elder years her dependence on me just got worse. Dealing with her escalating needs and after a number of other family crises I ended up getting sick both physically and mentally. It was the best thing that ever happened to me. I realized I could not continue the with way things were. I finally understood that my Mom was ill and would not be changing. I could never make her happy but maybe I could be happy. I got the help I needed to detach in a loving way.

I stopped calling her everyday. That was huge. I politely changed the subject or ended conversations that felt toxic to me. When she tried to pick a fight I did my best not to respond. It took a while but eventually the dynamics between us shifted. She has not changed but I have. Things are better, not perfect but better.

I thank God I was able to change my relationship with my Mom before my Dad got sick.

I wish you all the best, you deserve to be your own person not an extension of your Mom.

She has transferred her dependency from your dad to you. She can't see it because that is how she always lived in the past being dependent upon your dad.

That is an irrational point of view that we must never do something that upsets someone because sometimes we must do things for a person's safety and care that they might not understand and find upsetting. As a parent, did you ever do anything in your daughter's behalf that she found upsetting at the time? Most parents do unless they totally spoil their children. Frankly, your mom has been spoiled by your dad and wants you to keep up the same behavior which is not healthy for her or for you. She's not going to change at her age, but somehow you need to find some ways to take care of you.

There are some articles on this site about detaching with love that might help you with needed emotional boundaries between yourself and your mom.

Does your mother have any resources to spend on hiring some outside caregivers because you absolutely need and deserve a break?

Does she take anything for her depression?

Do you have any siblings or are you an only child?

Is she living in your house or are you living in her house?

Are you married? If so what does your spouse think about this whole situation?

Sounds like you may have some depression yourself which from the situation is totally understandable. You may want to find someone that you can talk about this with and vent your emotions face to face. You need to find some ways to keep her from sucking you in totally into her depressed, negative, isolated, dependent world or it will become your world.

She has trapped you into becoming her Home Entertainment Center, which is not healthy for either of you. My MIL pushed her 3 kids into health issues, chest pains for the oldest, constipation for the middle child and high BP for her daughter. Never underestimate the killing power of caregiving. After we got her to Assisted Living and properly medicated, she got better. So did they.

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