I've been taking care of my mother for 10 years. It just gets harder every day. She's draining the life out of me.

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I honestly don't think she cares because her ailments and needs are first and foremost in her mind. Everything that goes wrong in her life is my fault. No matter what I do to help her it's not enough. I have taken her to every medical specialist for all her ailments. I have found every possible way to help her. She spews venom at me regularly. Then there will be a change in the wind and she will show appreciation. I walk on eggshells when I'm around her because I don't know what will set her off at any given time. Then I reach a point where I can't take it any more and I blow up like a volcano. Yesterday was one of those days. I had been blamed all week for everything that went wrong. I went to pick her up for an appointment and she wasn't coming down to the lobby of her building. I waited, waited not to call up and aggravate her; finally I called up and told her she was now late and she blamed me for giving her the wrong time. I had called her 30 minutes before pick up time to remind her to get ready and be down in the lobby. I had called her the night before and told her to write down the time. Apparently, I had changed the times on her, I had deliberately given her the wrong times!! It was my last straw and I lost it. My body was wracked with uncontrollable shaking, I cried unconsolably, I screamed, I was out of control. Yet, it did not phase her. I'm crazy. I'm mean. She seems to forget that I have a full time career and a family and my own health issues. All of that is secondary to her needs. I feel like I'm trying to save a drowning woman who is standing on my shoulders while I'm standing under water. On top of it all, I feel guilty for not being able to control my temper and resentment. I want her out of my life but she's my mother and there are no options. I feel trapped by moral obligation and duty. She's in so much pain and so debilitated that she relies on me for everything. I catch myself wishing for God to remove this burden from her and from me. Which only makes my Catholic guilt more acute.


At this point, unless you have POA, if walking away isn't possible for you right now, just take a step back and don't do a damned thing for her but observe from a distance. Don't be afraid to talk to a therapist, you have a right to your emotions and are allowed to express them. Don't be afraid to get APS involved in this as well. Be kind to yourself and stay strong. There is no shame in getting professional help for you to get strong or stay strong.
Did you REALLY give her the wrong times?

"Look, mom. You're right. I'm no good at this. I'll just step back so others can take over".

Step back. Let her figure out that you're the only game in town, or that she needs to hire help to make up for what you can't do.

Unless she has dementia. Has she been evaluated for that.?
Sunflower1967, ah I know that feeling of shaking, crying, and feeling like my life is out of control. It is time for you to write down everything, and I mean everything that you do for your Mom... now cross off half the items on the list... now cross off a couple more. Stick to that list, and when Mom calls for something you had crossed off say "Sorry, Mom, I can't possibly do that". Try practicing in the mirror. Believe me, I know that Catholic guilt :P

Oh how I wish I knew to do that with my own parents. They wanted to continue to live the same lifestyle they had, but it was me who had to change MY lifestyle. It was too late to make those changes.

Sometimes we need to step into our elders shoe to see where they are coming from. They can't drive anymore, so no more hopping into the car to go to their favorite store, they need to wait on family to take them. Their friends have either moved or passed away. Their eyesight is failing, and so is their hearing. And they wake up with every ache and pain possible. And food doesn't take like it use to as our taste buds fail with age. Getting old isn't easy.  They grumble to the closet person they know... you.

Would Mom consider moving to Independent Living, where she would have her own apartment, and be around people of her own generation? Is there enough in savings or in the equity of her home [unless she is renting] to move into one of these places?
Barb, oh that is a perfect answer :)) I need to remember that whenever my Boss or sig other gets into a snit.
Thank you, everyone, for your replies; just knowing that you understand is a huge help. I have to step back and "force" her to use taxis or mobility services. I also have to walk away or end the phone call when the guilt trips start or the blaming me for everything including the weather. I have to say no without feeling guilty.
(((((((hugs))))))) When the calls from mother and from my sister became too crazy, too abusive, I stopped answering the phone. Absolutely hang up when they become too much for you. What you are feeling is called false guilt. You have done nothing to feel real guilt. False guilt comes from not meeting the (often unrealistic) expectations of others. Your mother is not a healthy person, so for your own mental health you need to limit contact with her. Set limits as to what you will and will not do. Decide on consequences when she is abusive - like hanging up the phone or refusing to drive her anywhere and stick to them. She is narcissistic, at least, and will not change, so you have to for your own survival.
"I"m so sorry that you're feeling that way, Mom; give me a call when you're in a better frame of mind". Click.

My grandmother seemed to expect my mother, her youngest child, to do her bidding. When mom didn't, Grandma would say "my, how you've changed".

Mom usually held her tongue, but she also held her ground. Like when grandma broke her hip and announced to all and sundry that she planned to become an invalid and that her daughter would "wait on her".

Mom said nope and sent Grandma to rehab. Grandma never really forgave my mother for that, but I learned some real good lessons about self-preservation at my mom's knee.
There's some good stuff on this site about F.O.G., which stands for Fear, Obligation and Guilt. Check into it and as noted above, seeing a therapist, who can be your cheering squad and reinforce, in real time, that you have nothing to feel guilty about, can be a God-send.
Yes, you do need to *force* her to do things that she still can do for herself because she is not a baby. The way your mother ages is not your problem; the way you age is. We all must live with the choices we make. For example, people who smoke cigarettes know it causes cancer. People who don't exercise know they're at risk for a heart attack. Step back, help with a few things, and recognize that you cannot prevent her from dying because that's what's in store for each and every one of us.

Sorry to be negative.

My FIL has been throwing a pity party for himself for the last couple of months and now is on vacation with his eldest son and, all of a sudden, everything is hunkydory. Gone is FIL's depression, anxiety, balance problems, and rolator!!! Yup, he's walking just fine according to my brother in law.

Live your life because otherwise your mother will suck it right out of you.

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