How do I deal with my mother who is a manipulator, wants 24/7 care, and keeps telling me that I owe her?

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After my dad passed away a year ago my mother came to live with me...At first it wasn't so bad, but it has become a nightmare! She refuses to do anything for herself, wants to sit in the recliner and be catered to. I work, and go to school, my daughter has been helping me with her as much as she can and I pay my granddaughter to stay with her the weekends I work..I am a nurse at the county jail and I work 7p-730a. Literally, my mother is draining me of my life. I have lost friends and now,she is doing the best she can to separate me from my kids/grandkids, and my ex-husband who is wanting to work things out with me.
She is a manipulator. She knows what buttons to push and does it to me NON_STOP!. for eample-- my son and I went out shopping for a patio set for my backyard -- we decided to stop and get a bite to eat. We were gone for 3 hrs max -- SHE CALLED 911 AND TOLD THEM HER CHILD WAS MISSING, AND SHE HAD BEEN LEFT ALONE WITH NO FOOD. When my son and I got back she was hysterical..HOw could I disappear and not call her, etc. thats when the cops showed up and I was livid! Now, my son avoids coming here and has told me that he won't do anything with me because of her.The woman is crazy. I don't have the heart to stick her in a nursing home BUT I can't do this much longer before it takes a toll on me.She has run off the OT, the home health aide, and the visiting nurse. She wants me to sit here 24/7. She has a fit when I go out to run my errands --"who's going to take care of me?" She is NOT as needy as she proclaims. I am 55yrs old and she is 85...I keep telling her I have a life and she keeps telling me "You owe me." She is driving me crazy. I can't take this anymore. I need some advice. Her doctor gave me xanax to give her--it doesn't help unless I give her more than what he prescribed and I can't legally do that..HELP!

Answers 1 to 10 of 23
Your mom is out of control and your responsibility is to keep her safe, but not to be her companion, 24 hour on call nurse-maid. How I see it is as follows:
Your mom knows how to manipulate you so that she gets you to do what she wants. This is probably a life long behavior and you have complied with it, even under protest. I would definitely get support for yourself, see a therapist and begin to realize that it is O.K. to deny mom and not feel guilty over it. As one ages, sometimes seniors regress to childlike behavior (like a 2 year old) and holler and scream to get what they want. If the parent gives in, (now that's you) the parent reinforces that screaming and hollering behavior. So, YOUR behavior and how you react to mom is key here and you can change that with help for yourself. Secondly, mom is probably very anxious about her aging, being left without family members, despite the caregiver being there. The zanax is a short term remedy. You should bring her to a Psychiatrist or good internist who deals with the elderly. She probably would benefit from an antidepressant that would help with her anxiety and possible depression. Zanax could be used as needed, but as people age, depression and anxiety often develops due to aging brain and reduction of seratonin(feel good chemical in the brain.). Also, irrational anxiety can be a sign of beginnings of dementia and this should also be evaluated by a psychiatrist, or eldercare internist, or even a neurologist who can do paper and pencil and verbal evaluations to see if she is begninning to show dementia issues. If that is the case, maybe she will need more meds such as Aricept, or Namenda. Seraquel is a med that can be used also to stop her hollering and can help behaviorally for mom. But first, I would definitely have her evaluated and change your behavior and get help to see if it is worth sacrificing your life for hers. Perhaps there are day care centers around for mom during the day to make friends, etc, There is alot here that you can do. Get advice, research community supports, and consider nursing home if nothing works.
Good luck.
I agree with Helen, she has to be evaluated first to see if it's dementia or just bad behavior. And I also agree that your mother has probably been doing this all her life, so why would she change now? Your dad probably needed the purple heart or something while you were growing up. If it's NOT dementia/alz then it's bad behavior and you'll have to make changes. First of all, would you lay that on your son by telling him just because you gave him life that he owes you? No you wouldn't, that's stupid. Parents are supposed to love and WANT to do things for their kids, not expect them to repay them for giving birth for Heaven's sake! So that in and of itself is guilt laden evilness in my opinion. Depending on what the doctor says about this, is how you're gonna have to deal with it. Do NOT be manipulated by this selfish woman. I don't care if she did give you birth. Tell her next time you want to go out and she calls the police, that you're gonna have her moved to a nursing home so she can 'be safe and fed etc' because you obviously can't do it. Take back the power that she's taken from you. And I'm sorry, but if you and your ex want to get back together and she's going to drive a wedge between that, then she's gotta live somewhere else. Period.
Hi Barb9222, Oh my, I so want to talk to you. First let me say that my twin daughters are nurses also, ICU and Med/Surg. They work very hard and it is emotional and physical. I feel so for you. But most of all I have a mother very much like yours. Dad died 3 years ago and she is the poor little widow, can't do anything or pay for anything (even though she has plenty of money). She still lives in her home and expects my brother and nephew to do everything for her (but they stand their ground) and is stingy beyond belief. She decided that I, one of her two children, wanted her money. So she went about telling lies behind my back for years. Friends and family "enlightened me". After much heartbreak, stress, near mental breakdown, she finally pushed me over the edge. I haven't talked to her in three months. And you know what, it is heaven. Of course she doesn't ;live with me but if she did and pulled the S&^%r your Mom is pulling, I would let her make a choice. Live with me or the nursing home. Take your pick. Like you Mom, my Mom is manipulative, always has been. They thrive on pushing your buttons. Also, as far as I can tell Mom has no dementia either. You deserve better. So what I have done is cut Mom off. If she wants a daughter she can call me, write me, or contact me in someway to say she is sorry. Until then I truly can live without her. I hope you find the courage to do something like this. Don't let anyone make you feel bad. No, you do not owe her, she owes you. She brought you into the world. Any Mother who does not love their child above themselves, is no Mother at all. I know, I have three beautiful daughters who know I would take a bullet for them. Don't let her selfishness ruin your life. God bless and stay strong.
Isn't it amazing what havoc a little 'ol 80-something can wreak?? I agree with all the above. Anything done in guilt cannot possibly be healthy for anyone. After three years of taking care of Mom, the hub and I took a 3-day vacation. Mom had a meltdown, called everyone but the people we had lined up to check in on her. It made our little break miserable. When I came home I realized that I am one person and that Mom really needs a whole army to do the things she wants. Three years of waiting on her hand and foot have meant nothing because I am viewed as a worker bee and not her daughter or someone she respects.
You need to make changes now. Your mother sounds well enough to be in an ALF. They use a "tiered approach" now so she can stay in place as her needs increase. Take some time to gather information in your area...ask friends and co-workers about their experiences. Then visit the facilities and narrow them down to a couple and take your Mom to visit. Limit her choices: "you can live at any of these lovely places you choose." Make a time line and stick to it. She will shape up temporarily, but will return to the same old behaviors eventually.
What we owe are parents is this: a clean safe environment where their physical/mental needs are being met by caring professionals. Any energy you expend beyond that is yours to give. Get back your life. Spend some time with the kiddos (it is a shame that your son cut you off because of his granny's behavior...a little empathy is called for here.) You will be amazed at how much time you will get back. Energy vampires are all around us...it is up to us to draw the line in the sand.
good luck...we have all been there.
Why exactly is your mom living with you? Is she unable to live independently for physical, mental or financial reasons? Lilli (above) has given you excellent direction. Do it! You are not obligated to sacrifice your life and home. Let us know how you do.
I wish my mother could read this. I feel that this is great advice Lilli! Thanks.
Don't let her bully you. Find a way to walk out (at least for awhile) and make a scene of it.

As one writer posted here, they sometimes know when they've gone too far. My Mom did.

It didn't fix everything for me, but Mom won't quite go to the edge of my last good nerve anymore.

Every situation is different, so figure a way to make it work for you!
Like deb I'm wondering why she is living with you. She is a widow but is she also an invalid? Does she have problems that prevent her from living on her own? Clearly her living with you is not healthy for either of you. Has she always been manipulative? Is this a change in her personality and behavior patterns? I think the answer to these questions might help decide the options for where she should be, but certainly it isn't in your home.
1. Her doctor needs to know the prescription is not working.

2. Your mother sounds like she has an undiagnosed mental illness like borderline personality disorder given her abandonment issues, her irrational rages, and her manipulation.

3. She put those buttons in you so that she could control you with emotional blackmail via F.O.G., i.e. Fear, Guilt and Fog. Freedom from these buttons requires therapy. I'm not a therapist, but I'd advise to get one soon.

4. Get her out of your home. She's alienated enough people out of your life and was probably glad to see your ex become your ex. Now that the two of you are working on your relationship, your mother is the one who needs to leave.

5. I don't blame your son for his outlook at all. I think on some level it is an indirect plea for you to do something with your mom so that you two can have a relationship.

6. Stop trying to reason with her for people like your mother can't be reasoned with. It is not your fault she's this way. You didn't make her this way. You can't fix her and you will die trying. You can't control her and she'll kill you if you try. All you can really do is to chose a healthy path for yourself to live on not so you can take care of her but because you are worth you taking care of you.

I wish you well in establishing some new boundaries in your life and important relationships so that you can get your life back.
omasgirl, how about print this thread out for your mother to read or get her online to read what people are saying.

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