How do I cope with caring for a mother that is going to outlive me because of the stress she puts on me?


First let me say my relationship w/my mom was good until I had a daughter and realized how badly she's always treated me because I would never do or say things to my daughter that previously had seemed normal to me. We had little contact because I could never do enough and that was so stressful to me I decided not to do anything. Then 2 years ago, she had an anurysm burst and we stepped in and helped my step dad (then 80) while my mom was in the hospital. She was released after 7 weeks (5 in intensive care and 2 in rehab) 2 weeks later I had a massive stroke and had to learn to retype/rewrite and walk. Now my step dad has been dead for a year and my 86 year old narcissic mother is living with my husband and I.
Needless to say, we're under more stress than before my stroke. We have turned our lives upside down for her but she doesn't appreciate it but expects it. I recently overheard her telling a friend on the phone she doesn't deserve to be treated like this- and has all her friends convinced she is being treated badly.
She is going to outlive us both because the world revolves around her and she could careless about the strain she creates with her attitude and inconsiderate ways. We've had numberous discussions w/her and she may improve for a day or two but goes back to her thoughtless words and deeds not to mention the mess she leaves in her wake that she expects us to clean up. We can't afford a nursing home and being an only child, the caregiving falls on me. I have to keep a very close watch on my BP and 3 or 4 times a week take clonidine to bring it down from stroke levels. My husband tries to buffer the situation but his health is bad too which is very stressful not only for him but me because I worry about him. I'm the only one working and feel (esp today) that everything is just toooooo much. We are open to ANY suggestions how to cope!

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Thanks for the update!
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Thanks everyone for your encouraging posts. When I got home yesterday, my husband had talked w/mom and moved her back to her "mini farm" (which is in my daughter and I's name.) We're getting her a landline phone and a life alert system. I know this will be temporary because she's very unstable on her feet but she's willing and certainly likes her independence. When she can no longer live alone, we'll reassess. She has Humana now. Does anyone know how to go about applying for Medicaid? Sounds like that needs to be done to get federal assistance.
One note: she told my husband it bothers her conscience to have such an adverse effect on me! (then why does she have to be so MEAN? Taylor Swift's new song, "why do you have to be so mean" is my new theme song. Fits me to a "t" except I'm to old to start over. I'm 58. But we're not giving up on some of our dreams. Without those they might as well bury me right now. At least I have peace for the time being.....
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Cinnamon, oh my gosh, first of all you can be thankful just to be alive after having a massive stroke, that in and of itself is a miracle. Next thing your health and the welfare of your husband and kids are your main priority now, sorry about mom but taking care of her DOESN'T mean you have to live with her or have her live with you. It means that you make sure she's being taken care of in some way, period. Your mother, as you already found out after you had your own child, was not a loving mom so why would she change now? It's not gonna happen so let that part go will ya?
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You may be right that you can't afford a long term care facility, but you don't have to. You are not financially responsible for your mother. As Lilli points out, her assets and her income should be used for her care. If she can't afford her own care, help her apply for Medicaid.

When I got to the part of your post where you said your mother is now living with you I wanted to scream "ARE YOU OUT OF YOUR MIND?!" lol -- of course you were, you were acting from your heart and not with your head. It is time to remedy that.

By the way, I think that a parent moving in with a child is often the best solution and it can work out peacefully in many case. This is clearly not one of those cases. This toxic situation needs correction, and fast.

It may even improve your relationship with your mother to visit her rather than live with her. But whether it improves the relationship, it will improve your health. You owe that to yourself and to your husband.
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It does seem that all too often mean people live longer than nice people. Please find some relief as listed above.
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When caregiving starts effecting your health, it is time to make a change. Both you and your husband need to protect your health for the future.
I have said, many times on this site, that it is nearly impossible to combine two households under one roof. Someone will always feel a loss of freedom.
The statistics support your statement that your Mom might outlive you. Caregiving is the most stressful thing I have ever done in my life and it usually falls to just one person in the, in that regard, we are all "only children."
If your mother has assets, they should be liquidated and used for her care in an ALF or NH. If not, look into filing for Medicaid for your mother. It isn't your responsibility to house or clean up after her, especially if she is causing you stress.
Look into facilities in your area. Talk to a Medicaid expert about filing the necessary paperwork.
good luck
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