How do you deal with a mom who does not want you around?

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If your mother is depressed, has diabetes and vision challenges on top of feeling responsible for your dad.....she is spent. Her outbursts sound like she is trying to control an out of control emotional roller coaster. I would hope that the rehab facility would be the one that would put your fathers health and safety first when they do his discharge plan. Most hospitals have a social worker and they have the responsibility to put your dad in contact with an Agency prior to his discharge if his physican feels that he needs outside assistance when he goes home. Parents have their own family dynamic that works "for them". We don't always understand it and many times it isn't the way we would choose to handle something. We can feel like we are walking on thin ice and feel like we're being scolded. Words hurt. Hurtful words can't be taken back once they are said so you be the hero and try not to feed into it. Just let your mother know that if she needs you, you would really like to help. Your father will know that he can count on you if your mother needs a break. This is a tough time for all of you. I hope that your mother has a doctor that is aware of her health issues. You take care and hang in there. My best to you and a big hug too!
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Michelle
I have found that for my 88 and 86 year old parents (who live in another state 4 1/2 hours away from me) losing their independence and mobility is a scary and threatening situation. They still live in their own home without help, and I go for 3 days once a month to check on them and take them to appointments they can no longer get to themselves (Dad has MD and goes to a specialist 1 1/2 hours away from their home). I am a professional social worker and I am used to taking charge of situations and making things happen. I have found that I have to slow down and let my parents be the "experts." I do this by asking them questions about what they think they need to remain independent, and I LISTEN (and let them know I am listening). I have found I get a much better outcome doing this rather than telling them what it is I think they should do. I have learned a great deal about patience during this time and I respect that they want to make their own decisions. They know I am there to help with whatever they need, and I tread very softly when making suggestions for them. Often I pose questions rather than give advice or directives, such as: "Mom, what do you think you and Dad might need when he comes home?" She may feel less threatened if she is coming up with the answers, and she may then include you in the process by asking for your input as well. I have learned that they are still in charge of their lives (thankfully there is no dementia or cognition problems) and I am there to support them in their remaining independent.
I don't think your Mom wants you to stay out of their lives, she is just trying to hold on to her sense of control, which is totally normal at this deveolpmental stage of their lives. For our parents, who come from a very self-reliant generation, being seen as vulnerable and weak (your Dad) is traumatic and as a result he may push you away, not because he doesn't love you, but because he has been socialized not to show weakness and vulnerability. Try reapproaching them by expressing how much they mean to you and go about your interactions with them as though the arguments have not happened. I have found that it is also useful to give them opportunities to reminisce about "the good old days." This can be done by pulling out old family photo albums and asking about the people and places in the photos. You can ask your Mom for advise (perhaps asking about a family recipe or craft project) to make her feel valued and go to your Dad and share memories with him about pleasant parts of your childhood and his role in creating those memories. Perhaps there were family vacations that were special or times when he helped you with projects. Your Mom and Dad just want to feel that they are still important, vital and part of life. And for them, being able to call their own shots helps them retain those feelings. That explaines their strong reactions when you try to take over for them.
One thing you can do for them and your relationship with them is to "just be there." Visit you Dad and just talk about mundane things or watch an old TV show with him. Same with your Mom. I'll sit with my Mom and watch game shows and keep things light.
One last thought, then I'll stop. Understand that this is a difficult time for them, but it is also a difficult time for you, as well. You might think about connecting with a support group or on-line chat group to help you with the transition you are experiencing along with your parents.
There are so many of us grappling with our changing relationships with our parents, and we are all learning as we go, just as they did with us when they were raising us. We, and they, continue to be a work in progress.
Take time to hold yourself gently on this journey.
Sherrie
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Hey Michelle,
I think you're right that Mom is scared. Isn't it weird the way people express themselves when they are in denial? So sad, too, but we still have to PUSH THROUGH IT. If you can stay unemotional--(this is always my advice)--pretend you don't know them and that it's business, maybe you can see the problem better. That is a huge dynamic with family, because we are all so emotionally connected--since the beginning! (brilliant, I know. JK) I read once that you can become 'enlightened' until you go home and find that everyone treats you the same as when you were 7 years old:) I think we have all experienced it. Very humbling.
Well, you are not responsible for your Mother's emotions or her behavior, your Dad is not feeling his strongest right now, and he knows how your Mom is, and they both know that their life is changing. Just stay firm and gentle, because a transition is in the works, whether anyone likes it or not:) Take Care.
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My mom is not the sick one per say at this time, (She is suffering with un-treated depression, medicated diebets plus macular degeneration)but she is taking care of my father who just went into rehab who has MD and needs constant help. But when they were talking about puting him in Rehab after surgery on his foot I just mentioned that they would need help after dad got well enough to walk on his own when he came home and mom took it as if I was saying that she was not capable of doing this. I was just trying to make them think in the future/ planning mode. Mom said that she did not want me to come around anymore that dad and her would do things there way and for me to get out of there way!!! That I was not the parent . Now the last two times we have talked and they did not end very nice (actua ugly things were said to me but I took it as mom is/was scared) mom keeps asking what do I "MEAN BY THAT" and dad cries saying he wants things the way they "USE TO BE" I don't want to abandon my dad and I don't want him to get upset and set his recovery back and I really need to know that I will be able to visit him again. My mom hold grudges and always has its in her personality. What can I do???
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I have the same problem. My father lives in assisted living, he just told me in not so many not nice words to get out. He is angry with himself because he can't walk anymore and he takes it out on me for I'm the one that really takes care of him. When this happens I have to walk out and leave him for a couple of days. Yes, it hurts but take those days off and try to let it go.
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Hi Michelle,
Why is that? Sounds like your feelings are hurt. What's up?
We care. Let it out.
Hugs
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