My mother is a still very beautiful 82 yr old woman who was widowed 2 and 1/2 yrs ago. My dad totally adored and babied her. She babied me (an only child), but didn't like his attention on me at all. He babied her up until his dying day. Now she's turned her guns on me, expecting me and my husband to be at her beck and call. She can 'act' better than anyone I've ever seen-- especially act sick. Her physical last month showed she's perfectly healthy, her blood pressure, cholesterol, urine, etc were all wonderful, the dr was amazed! But in her mind, she is an invalid and she calls people on the phone and puts on this sick act like she's at deaths door so well that almost everyone thinks she's honestly sickly. She stops eating and makes herself weak and feels sick. She's lost about 25 lbs the past yr and is always exclaiming,'' Oh look how thin and poor I look! I've just got to have something wrong! That dr must be overlooking something!"

She's run off all her friends and expects me to call every night to listen to her moan and groan about everything under the sun. I have a newly retired husband who wants to live a little before we run out of time. He wants to take a cruise, go camping, something! I have rheumatoid arthritis and am not able to do much myself but could do that. I am just so upset I can hardly type this-- I know I'm probably not making much sense! People in the family have told me to just tell my mom that I'm busy, or I cant deal with her right now, but she always gets sick by not eating and then I have to take her to the dr and get xrays or mri's or whatever tests she can convince the doctors to run on her....

I'm so fed up I don't feel like I can make it! I love her and feel so guilty about even writing this, but I don't know what to do. Unless I sit with her and spoon feed her I honestly think she will starve herself to death. We recently moved her from her large home in the country to a two bedroom apartment closer to her doctors and shops. She desperately wanted to move from her country home because she was afraid of the isolation, but now that shes in her nice apartment she's decided she HATES it! Nothing but complaints about it from her. My husband and I have just about killed ourselves trying to make her apartment look as much like her house as we can, hung pictures and copper kitchen things on the walls, etc, and it's very pretty. She is just so unhappy.... She wants daddy back and things to be like they were before, where she is queen of the castle and calling all the shots. I just wish I could convince her to EAT and to get involved with senior activities. She wont even give anything a try. (she has used not eating to get attention from my dad back when I was a young girl in the 60's so I know she will continue to use this method to control me) I talked to her dr about how she wont eat and he just got in her face and said,'' EAT. You're HEALTHY." She remembers this, but still wont eat. She can't afford to live in an assisted living facility and doesnt want to. Does anyone have any advice for me? I just want her to live her life and let me have the rest of mine before it's too late. My husband is 64 and I'm 61.....

Thank you in advance.

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Don't feel foolish - it took many of us a lot of years to really see the dynamics of our dysfunctional relationships. Then we are taken aback that we didn't see it sooner. But when this is all you know, it takes time and often a crisis to pull off the blinders. When I slip and think about not getting a handle on it sooner, I tell myself what's important is that I finally DID, and started making the needed changes.

Hang in there.

Yes! I love blanie's idea! Read and read again Nana's story! Read it maybe once a week or once every two weeks to build you up.

Read Toxic Parents and I would add to that Emotional Blackmail.

Find a therapist for support because you are going to need some face to face support in setting these new boundaries, and making it through the aftermath of standing by those boundaries with your mother.

Give your husband a big hug, focus on being fully present in the present with him and ya'll go somewhere and have fun as you move forward with YOUR LIVES as a couple once again!!!!!!!! Like the song says, "Love the one you're with"

Good luck and keep in touch!

I feel for you - read a book called :"Toxic Parents" - it was recommended to me by my therapist. Your mom will not change. Ever. You can only change your response. She is manipulating you and you are letting her because you haven't set boundaries. She likely will make herself sick when you do. IT IS HER CHOICE. You can't control what she does or persuade her to change. GET THE BOOK, GET THERAPY, SET BOUNDARIES. Only you can change this dynamic - she has no reason to. She won't like it - once i set and stuck to boundaries, my mom didn't speak to me for two years. But now we have a more equal relationship. Good luck.

StCroix - HUGS, hugs, & more hugs. You can do this. It won't be easy, fun, or comfortable, but we are standing on the other side of the dark valley to encourage you. You can cross through too.

Durable Power of Attorney is imperative at this point if you don't already have it.
Make sure do to several originals. Most places will accept a copy, but I've run into one bank (Wells Fargo...looking at you) who insists on an original. Like I'm going to turn my one original over to them to lose.

Stcroix, one fluffy comforting thought to hold on to as well is that it will in the long run be better for *your mother too* if she is not totally dependent on you for all of her social and emotional needs. Tough love is love! - you'll be doing the right thing for all of you. Encouraging her to develop her own life isn't exactly cruel and unusual punishment, after all, is it? :)

I'm so happy to read our posts have helped you! Go get 'em tiger!!

And if you need a boost, read through this thread about a family where the mother-in-law was wreaking havoc on the family dynamic. Nana posted for advice and over the course of a year turned her life around and got her MIL out of the house and got her own family back. You can do the same thing!

Good luck and please, like Nana did, keep us posted!!

I appreciate all the feedback I've received! It has made me stop, take a breath and evaluate what is happening and how I'm reacting to it. One thing I realized: NO ONE is telling me,"Oh your poor Mom, you should be taking care of her since she's feeling sick, whether she is or not!" Instead it's been across the board postings in agreement of how to stand up for myself and how she is never going to change... and how I need to make my husband my first priority now. I sincerely thank you. It felt like an e-slap back into reality!

We spent 8 hours yesterday with my mom, getting her banking and bills taken care of so she doesn't have to deal with them anymore. Took all day long on the phone trying to speak with a human and giving the phone over to her so she could give me permission to speak for her, etc. But everything I do like this sets me up for freedom from her along the road and she cant call me asking about this bill or that bill. I was sick with rheumatoid arthritis flare ups from the stress and yet all I heard all day long was how sick she is. I realized she never asked how I was feeling, or anything about my life. When we got home last night my husband had a bad tension headache, took some medicine and went to bed. I sat in the living room reading and rereading your comments to me and thinking everything out. Then a favorite elderly aunt called me and we had a 2 and 1/2 hours long talk about what you've all said and how she's been trying to tell me that, etc. She was wonderful. And thought you all were amazing! It was exactly what I've been needing to make me come to the realization of how I'm being manipulated and what I now have to do to get past this part of my life.

This is going to be one of the very toughest things I've ever had to do, but I'm going to have to cut Mama out of my life while making sure she is taken care of in a safe environment. Her new apartment is gated, with a whole building of elderly people who can be her friends (if she doesn't run them off!), and she has a medical alert necklace and AT&T supported hand device alert if she leaves her apartment.

We are still looking into taking a vacation for a month :) We are going back to St Croix where we like to veg out and relax-- I just have to find a condo we can afford now that has no stairs whatsoever. I know Mama will put up fight after fight and hissy fit after hissy fit, but I'm going to stay firm and let her know that I know the dr told her she is healthy, so I don't feel guilty about leaving her and THAT'S THAT. (the trained wimp in me is all shaky about what's coming, but I can see that it's just my life and I have to get through it) Thank you again! For the first time in my life I feel like I have a group of tough angels standing right behind me egging me on to stand up for myself (and my husband) and get a life :)

Well StCroix1970, welcome to the Children of Narcissists Club. You've been in it your entire life.

The sense of responsibility and need to please is our hallmark. It takes awareness, time, and purposfull work to reclaim your own life and emotional health. But it can be done.

KNOW THIS: a narcissist will throw fits and play out dramatic scenes specifically to manipulate you, but they will never cut you off regardless of how displeased they seem in the moment. They count on you reacting with concern and ownership of the problem. They need for you to feel responsible.

YOU ARE NOT RESPONSIBLE for mom's happiness or entertainment.
Repeat this to yourself in front of the mirror 10 times a day until it sinks in.

I also have this mother. I put her in care in 2013 when it was not safe for her to live alone anymore. Once she got into a facility, they did cognitive evals and a psychiatrist visited her. Her shift down into memory care was decided and done by the professionals, not me. My one and only concern was her safety and medical well being.

I can never be responsible for my mom's emotional well being. That is a sunk ship.

My mother deserves a gold statue for the theatrics she's pulled my entire life. It only got worse with dementia. This is narcissism. It's a mental disorder. Sometimes doctors will classify it as bi-polar so they can administer strong anti-depressants and anti-psychotics. My mom also had paranoid delusions.

So your mom is over 80 and probably never going to change. Narcissists don't change. Stop expecting it. The only thing you can change here is what you do and don't respond to.

Prioritize your health and relationship with your spouse as THE ONLY #1 thing in your life for 6 weeks and see what happens.

Mom will throw hissy fits and all manner of dramatic stunts. Do not respond. Don't do it! It's bait - don't take it. If you do, you are undermining everything.

Instead, unplug the phone, go do FUN THINGS and just let mom be. In 6 weeks you are going to feel like a new person, your marriage will be stronger, and you may just see some things come into focus that had been lost in the FOG.

An awful lot of us here have been through therapy in our lives because of this and have gone no to low-contact with our mentally ill parent. It's a matter of our life or theirs. It sounds callous, but it's all about survival. The narcissists will always be fine no matter what.

My father spoiled/babied my mother until he passed 15 years ago, yet she treated him like dirt. Unfortunately she didn't spoil/baby me "I didn't want kids hanging on my skirts, I just wanted to go have a good time" and go have a good time she did, nothing but the best and even that wasn't good enough.. I gave up my home and career and cared for her in her home for four hellish years until she went into a nursing home and she couldn't bear anyone else getting my attention. The next door neighbour was a lovely woman, newly retired school teacher. who my mother hated "because I'm old and she's never offered to help me" ... umm she never spoke to this lady in 12 years who always saw her dressed to the nines, walking her dog and going out in her car. I heard through another neighbour that this lady had developed breast cancer so out walking my dog one day I popped a note in her mail box offering help. We eventually talked and I drove her to chemo treatments a few times which infuriated my mother.

The first time I drove her I used mother's car as my van was a bit dog hairy and got "She's got a damned nerve using my car!" Ok, so after that we used my van and I got "She's got a damned cheek calling you and telling you when she wants you" ... umm, I had my own phone line in the basement so she never knew if this lady called or what was said. It was pure jealousy because she wasn;t the centre of attention. The lady eventually passed away and I went to the funeral, taking a neighbour with me. Mother refused o go "Just tell them I'm not feeling well" and was nasty when I got back.

BTW she's hated the neighbours wherever she's lived ... one time her house got egged and it wasn't even Halloween!

She went into a nursing home over 2 years ago, lays in her bed dreaming up all sorts of things and refuses to associate with anyone, even though both I and the NH admin have put a rocket up her backside more than once. She has no friends though she wants to start calling people she knew long ago for them to come see her so she can lay in bed and hold court, seeing as she's so special and all {again, rolling eyes}. Of course that won't work as she can barely speak now and even I have hard time understanding her one on one.

She will eat breakfast, refuses to go to lunch "because I'm not pretty enough" {rolling eyes} and picks at supper. I don't think she weighs as much as my Ashy Girl, a black lab, but eats the chocolates and cookies I take her. I spoke with the NH doc who said that's fine if it's the only way to get some calories into her.

When she went into the NH I bought a wee house on a country back road. A year ago her relentless shenanigans and daily screaming tantrums drove me to the edge of a nervous breakdown and I blacked out doing 85 in my truck. No harm done but it was a wakeup call so I changed my phone number and made it unlisted. I've never given her my address either or she'd likely send the cops around "because I was worried about you" ... she's done that before. I was ill all last winter. I'll never totally regain my health but I'm getting a lot better and starting to rebuild my life.

If your mother won't eat, so be it, it's her choice and you have nothing to feel bad about. Scoop up hubby and go on vacation where there's no cell phone service {wink} or on a cruise where you can't get off. Your mother has an alarm system ... my mother had one but it was always hanging on a door knob "somewhere" ... and is capable of calling 911. Sorry if it sounds harsh but if she chooses to make herself sick it's her problem not yours. Studies show that a percentage of caregivers die from stress related illness before those they care for. Think about it! Though I will never fully regain my health, the choices I made probably saved my life..

Our input was not meant to beat you up or to make you feel foolish. We understand about growing in ways that felt normal at the time, but then found out later that they were not. Both my wife and I grew up thinking several things about our early lives were normal, but they were not.

No, you are not a total wimp as you have listed evidence for, However, it is time to stop wishing she will act right in order for you to have her permission (which you don't need as a grown woman) to go on with your life. I am glad to hear that you are wiling to implement the needing changes. No, she want change for she sees no need to change and never has ever seen a need to change. No, your life will not be any worse if she ends up hating you.

Nope, no need to drag your children into this anymore than you already have by telling them all about it. If they are like my boys, they will be glad when you stop dancing this dance with your mother, mine sure were. The best thing I think you can do at this point is set them a good example of dealing with this by setting good boundaries and just give them an occasional update now and then without loading them up with a whole lot of details. Sounds like your daughter is definitely backing you up and your husband is ready for this change as well.

As a husband who was overly patient with his MIL for too long after fighting her at first, I can totally understand your husband being fed up after going with the flow for basically 42 years! Wow!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I thought maybe he had been through this enough. I'm not surprised that you are worried about your marriage and that's quite a wake up call that probably does feel like being sent to the principal's office. I say that from the perspective of a husband who has been there.

It is time for you two to be a couple once again and enjoy your empty nest years with each other without the emotional baggage of mom. You two have so many more years ahead of you!

From my experience with my MIL and my wife's continued emotional enmeshment and codependent relationship, it felt like emotionally that I was married to more than one person. However, it was sure nice to get her back after several years in therapy in her getting her freedom. From that experience, I can guarantee that your sense of intimacy with your husband will increase when you stop dancing with your mom.

It sounds like you are determined to stop dancing emotionally with mom, start living your own life and to literally go dancing with your husband! So, go dance the night away and enjoy being a couple again!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

If you need professional face to face support along the way, don't feel bad about the idea of going to see a therapist because that is what it often takes to stop the dance, get past the parent's reaction to no longer having an emotional dancing partner and to keep those boundaries in place. It does not sound like that is what you need right now, but if you do, get it. Therapists have a lot of experience helping adult children get away from the dance of their manipulative parents who all use F.O.G. (fear, obligation and guilt) to accomplish your goal. That's why I've coined the phrase F.O.G.y parents.

At the same time, I respect your choice in this matter, realizing it is a very hard and scary move to make and if you choose to not make it right now, you will still have my support and love.

Good luck and keep in touch.

Oh wow, I feel a little beaten up just reading these posts, even though I know they were well meant and right on the button as far as advice. I feel foolish. But I was raised this way and it didn't seem so odd to me until now and especially reading what you have to say.

She has been manipulating me my whole life, I see now. And cmagnum, you're right that she babied me and now expects me to baby her, sick as that sounds. I DO sound like a wimp, but there have been several times where I've stood up to her, told her I wont be available for long nightly calls about her 'problems', and we even went on vacation for a month where my aunt kept an eye on mom for me (we lied and told mama I didn't have cell service in the area I was staying in). She survived my vacation just fine, but the minute I got back she started the calling me every night again. If I don't answer my phone she calls everyone she knows who lives around me, even getting someone to come down to my house to make sure I was alive! So embarrassing. She's so convincing, that she has people thinking I am the one who is neglectful. She was the 'belle of the ball' when she was married. She was seriously a beautiful woman and my dad was thrilled someone like that would choose him... Daddy wasn't a handsome man, but had this fantastic personality that drew people to him-- so their home was always full of people having fun. Until he died, then suddenly NO ONE showed up to visit Mama or even check on her. It made me realize it was daddy who was the draw and people didn't like her personality even then. They lived in a beautiful home in the country and she was a marvelous cook, especially desserts. Daddy was the entertainment, she was the 'jewel' and the food was an extra bonus. I guess all that is gone now and she is back to doing anything to get that attention.

My husband and I married young (20 and 22) and he's always gone along with the flow regarding mama..... until now when he's had enough. I am worried about my marriage and realize I have to make a choice. If only she wouldn't stop eating then I could get on with my life-- but I'm afraid even in a nursing home situation that she'd not eat and it would be trips back and forth to the hospital to build her back up with me being involved. Sadly I know she'd like that. It sounds easy to say just let her starve herself if that's her way of pouting, but I can honestly see me being called on by the nursing home to deal with her, or decide whether she needs a feeding tube! I'm selfishly worrying because I don't want to be involved anymore. And I realize if she gets so bad that they need to put a feeding tube in that I can say do it and go on about my life, I guess. I'm not a total wimp! I just wish she'd act right and I could go on about my life.

I don't see her finding friends because she runs everyone off after they realize she only wants to talk doom and gloom. I see that I have to make a stand and tell her once again that she is stressing out my life and that my husband wants time to just ourselves. I know what will happen, she will act innocent and pitiful and say she never meant to cause any problems or be a burden and she will even cry.... But I've seen that before so hopefully I can deal with it. We looked up condo prices tonight and are planning on a trip once we get our house sold and our things stored away. (we have been dealing with this at the same time as moving her, but we have an interested buyer). Thank you so much for the advice. I honestly appreciate it, even though I feel like I've just been sent to the principal(s)! It's all just so depressing to have to deal with. Both my kids are in their 30's and have families and I've kept them abreast with what's happening and already told them what to do with me should my hubby go before me! The last thing I'd want to do is glom onto them and drag their families down!

By the way, I agree with the tendencies of Munchausen's syndrome. I've actually thought of that. And last night I looked at a thread on this site about people dealing with people who are narcissistic and I think she has tendencies of that,too. I will take what you've said seriously and implement it, painful to do or not. I honestly don't see her changing, but if she ends up hating me it wont make my life any worse, right?

Your mom sounds like a very self-absorbed person who expected/demanded to be babied/spoiled by your dad and after spoiling/babying you, she now feels entitled to be babied/spoiled by someone which is you as payback for all the spoiling/babying she did for you.

She must have been spoiled/babied all her entire childhood up to meeting and marrying your dad. Thus, she has developed a very dependent personality which is very manipulating. The personality she has comes from her life experiences and how she has learned/chosen to respond to them.

At this late age, I would not expect her to change, but you can change by setting boundaries and refusing to dance her emotional dance with her. You didn't make her how she is. You can't fix her nor can you control her. All you can really do is recognize where she is and to put your personality on a healthier path.

That's easier said than done, but for your own well being and for the well being of your marriage, that needs to be done. If you have any grown children, you need to set such boundaries to show them a good example for them to follow as adults in their marriages.

You don't owe her being her emotional babying/spoiling substitute for your dad. You are a married adult with your own life and you need to go forward and live it.

I gather that she does not live in your home and I would advice against that and would never advise moving in with her. I think she needs to go to assisted living, find an elderly boyfriend who will spoil/baby her for the attention she gives to him and she would probably eat that up.

BTW, what does your husband think about this whole dynamic? I would imagine he's ready for you to stop dancing with mom, and for you two to live your lives. He's your primary focus for he's the one your married to. You can't be your mom's emotional substitute for your dad. That's not good for you or her in the long run.

I wonder if some men were raised with the idea that to be a good husband meant their role was to spoil/baby their wives because I've seen this dynamic before. In the long run it is not good for the wife or the adult children.

Good, luck. Keep in touch and let us know how things go.

Stcroix, I'm so sorry to hear what you're going through. My situation is somewhat similar to yours in that there is nothing wrong with my mom, she has been tested dozens of times for so many things yet always comes up healthy as a horse! My dad died 4yrs ago (he did everything for her) and since then me and my 3 brothers lives have been a living hell and it keeps getting worse. After countless doctors, 3 months at a treatment facility(that was a good 3 months:), we have never been given a diagnosis, but words have been thrown out: malingerling, fictious disoder, psuedodemtia. Oh, the lies and everyday games have mentally beat us down and torn us apart. We have come to realize we can never do enough for her, we can't make her happy.
I agree with Pam and would try to find a way to make AL work for you and your family. Maybe she will get the attention she wants from there. That is our next plan of action, but as my mom is only 66yrs old I think we are far from done!
Good luck to you

Heck, I'd play her game right back at her. Very sweetly tell her that you think it's time to move her to the nursing home if she's so sick she needs constant care. Call her bluff!

You've gotten great advice and I agree with the mild version of Munchausen's. Here's the definition of the mental illness: "It is a mental illness, in which a person repeatedly acts as if he or she has a physical, emotional or cognitive disorder when, in truth, he or she has caused the symptoms. People with factitious disorders act this way because of an inner need to be seen as ill or injured, not to achieve a concrete benefit, such as financial gain. They are even willing to undergo painful or risky tests and operations in order to get the sympathy and special attention given to people who are truly ill. Some will secretively injure themselves to cause signs like blood in the urine or cyanosis of a limb. Cyanosis is the condition occurring when the blood supply is cut off to a particular part of the body and the skin takes on a dusky blue color. Factitious disorder imposed on self is associated with severe emotional difficulties.

Originally called Munchausen syndrome, named for Baron von Munchausen, an 18th century German officer who was known for embellishing the stories of his life and experiences—is the most severe type of factitious disorder. Most symptoms in people with this disorder are related to physical illness—symptoms such as chest pain, stomach problems, or fever—rather than those of a mental disorder."

She would be well suited to Assisted Living. With her SS supplemented by the money from the house sale, ends should be able to meet. Once we got Mom to an ALF, the feigned illnesses stopped. She is now getting the meds instead of skipping them and she has lots of people around her to keep her mind off of ailments.

Have you ever heard of FOG? It stands for Fear Obligation and Guilt. It's the way your mom is controlling you.

Make an appointment with a therapist and talk about this. You need help understanding how to set boundaries with your very narcissistic and manipulative mother. Talk to her doctor about a referral to a geriatric psychiatrist. And book the cruise.

stcroix, my mother cries wolf so often that I don't know if I would be able to tell if there was really anything urgent. It does worry me that yours will even stop eating to prove the wolf is at the door. It almost sounds like a mild form of Munchausen's syndrome -- a mental disorder where illness is feigned in order to get medical attention. Munchausen's is usually more extreme, though. Still I suspect that your mother has learned that factitious sicknesses get her attention. It sounds like maybe some psychological therapy might help her.

These types of disorders are disheartening to a caregiver. How do we establish boundaries without appearing like we're uncaring? I understand the feeling, since I live with my mother and the discussion of symptoms begin in the morning and go throughout the day. To preserve yourself and your marriage, you have to set those boundaries. You can't just run to her because she decided not to eat. That is rewarding bad behavior, which it seems is what she wants. Instead make her an appointment with a therapist so she can talk about it with him/her to find out why she needs to do this.

I get the feeling your dad spoiled your mom, as you wrote, and that she was the beautiful belle of his ball. Now she is an 82-year old widow. That must have been a very hard fall for her. It would be nice if she would form friendships with people her own age, maybe learn to dance and get a dance partner. There is still a lot of life to enjoy, since she has her health. Maybe some therapy will help her find her way and take the burden off your shoulders.

stcroix1970, since your Mom likes to cry wolf, do one better, tell her that since she is so very sick, you are now looking around for smaller facility for her. She will be trading in her nice apartment to a one room suite which will be easier for her to keep clean :) Who knows, she might think twice about this so called game she is playing. Some day something serious might happen and no one will be paying any attention.... [sigh]

You sound like a wimp, but a well-trained wimp. Your mother is pushing all those buttons she installed during childhood, especially the guilt button.

She is blackmailing you with the not-eating threat. You say she did this during your childhood, too. Well, she obviously didn't starve to death then, and I assure you she won't starve to death now.

She wants to make herself sick for attention? She can get her attention from doctors. Maybe one of them will suggest psychiatric treatment.

Your aunts and daughter are right.

You don't need another "talk" with her. You need to establish some boundaries and ENFORCE them. Go o a cruise. Once you are on board you couldn't rush back to her if you wanted to. She has a medical alert button. She knows how to dial 911. You are not her living relative.

GO ON A CRUISE! (You might want a few sessions with a counselor first, to reinforce what your aunts an daughter and people on the forum are telling you.)

Thank you Blannie. You've written exactly what my aunts and daughter have told me... BUT when I try to be independent then she stops eating and ends up getting sick. She's fallen from weakness, or eaten wrong things and made her colitis act up so bad she's had fever with it! She is on an antidepressant, but I've seen her act up like this all my life. I had NO idea how much daddy was protecting me from! Now that he's gone, I'm all she has. I've told her straight out that while I love her, I have a life with my husband and we need our space and I wont be calling her every single night (or day). She cant understand why I wouldn't want to check up on her in case she's fallen or sick or something. (she has one of those medic alert buttons around her neck) We go a couple of days without me calling her and then I hear from her that she's so sick and sure enough she IS. I cant understand it, all I can figure out is she knows how to make herself sick for attention.

She LOVES attention of all kinds, I've never seen anyone so full of themselves. I'm afraid if we go off on vacation that she will pull something and get 'sick' and ruin our trip. There is no one to take care of her but me. We went on a trip about 10 yrs ago for a month down to a condo and when I called to check in after a few days I asked her how she and daddy were and she hesitated then said,'' Oh..... we're... fine..." like something was wrong. Daddy had been having some mini strokes so I asked her if something was wrong with daddy and she immediately brightened up and asked,'' How could you tell?!" all happy like she was getting attention vicariously through him. She said the dr said he was ok, for us not to hurry home, etc. But her tone of voice was so off that it worried me. The rest of our trip I kept my cell phone by me in case he had a stroke and we had to hurry back home. When we got home he was just like when we left! And she acted like she had no idea why I was upset. She is in her right mind, she is just spoiled. I am just going to have to have another talk with her--- which she will promptly forget and we'll go back to the same old life... I'm so tired of being used. What's weird is that she traveled and partied and had a great life and let my aunt take care of my grandmother-- she didn't have any problems being sick then! But if I mention that to her she starts crying and saying how guilty she feels about my grandmother now and if she only knew then what she knows now she'd have done ANYTHING for her mother... I know I sound like a wimp, but it's hard when I'm the only child and don't have any help with her.

If you're sure your mom doesn't have a mental illness, then she's a fully functioning adult woman. She can choose to eat or not. Is it possible she's depressed? If that's possible, I'd get that treated and then it's up to her to make herself happy. She's the only one who can do that.

You owe your mom care and concern and you've done everything humanly possible to get her set up to be happy (or at least not miserable). If she doesn't want to take that opportunity, it's not up to you to twist yourself into a pretzel to make that happen. You don't have to be her entertainment committee. You don't have to give up your life in service to her. She sounds like she'd still be miserable even if you did! She wants her old life back, but you can't give that to her. No one can.

So live your life and be happy with your husband and be a loving daughter to your mom, but don't try to be her savior. Only she can fill that role.

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