How do I deal with my mom when she suddenly gets mad at me, on the phone, and tells me she won't call me again?

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This is just one of many incidents. Long story short, As I was driving home, I was listening to her rant and rave and complain about her cleaning lady not staying long enough today, etc., and I offered advice, here and there. She kept fussing about this over and over.. I finally said that I had to go because I was nearly home and it was storming, and I needed to get out of the car, quickly. She took this to mean that I was bored with everything she said (I was listening, quietly, to her), that I didn't want to listen to her or talk, and she hung up. I knew she was mad, but I called her back when I got settled in the house. She finally answered and said that she wouldn't be calling me anymore, since I didn't want to listen to her, that I could call her if I wanted to. I just said ok, whatever you want. I didn't argue. And she hung up the phone. How do I deal/look at this situation? She is 80 and stays in the bed most of the time, due to some physical problems. She is also very depressed. Any advice would be appreciated! (BTW, I am an only child, have a full-time job, and am raising triplets (with my husband.)

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Your mother needs a caregiver that will come, do light housekeeping, talk, administer meds, etc. You can get one through her insurance company and they will pay about 31hrs a week minimum wage. That will give her someone else to talk to as well. Do you have any relatives that would come sit with your mom from time to time? I take care of a lady with COPD that is totally bedridden and on Hospice at home. I do everything as you can imagine and she has a ton of friend's that come over on a regular basis (usually two or more people a day) and two children that come as well. This is still not enough for her and she cusses me out on a regular basis for little silly stuff (usually medications as she is now addicted to the xanax and morphine) and I am very serious about the meds and take my job extremely serious. My moto is keep on keeping on and you can attract more bees with honey! I manage to stay sane through all of this by praying a whole lot! I don't get but 6hrs off a week but I am looking for another job because no one should have to deal with the things I do and hardly have time for themselves. Caregiving is a hard job that lots of people seem to think about! It takes a whole lot of patience and at times is like dealing with a three yr old! But God is good and he knows what is best! Caregiver burnout has been put into the same category as PTSD so if you have good people taking care of your parent's make sure they get plenty of time off and are appreciated! It's the little things that count like saying please and thank you!
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Eddie, You can be pretty flip about the real life realities of peoples lives. I can too, from time to time, but you seem determined to kick old people to the curb. Is it a personal issue with you?
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DAVIS:

A regular job and trips? You must be exhausted!

Girl, your mom expects an interaction but ends up feeling as if talking to a wall. Next time try reflective listening. Imagine you're a mirror, paraphrase what she says and throw it back to show you're paying attention. Or beg her forgiveness at the start of the conversation and say you're too worn out to pay her the full attention she deserves. Make an appointment for when you're nice and perky, and sit down to chat about that cleaning lady while sucking up coffee strong enough to wake the dead.

If that's not good enough and she still cops an attitude, let her simmer. Limit the phone calls to 2x / week. If she wants more, tell her grab a cab and come over to hang out with the kiddies.
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Wow, you are a busy girl, God love you. And now Mom is looking for attention. Even though you do give her plenty of attention; she will continue to look for more. Especially since you are her only child. There is no one to share all this with. My mother regualarly hangs up on me; after a while you develop a thick skin. She is in a facility now, but gets plenty of attention.

Cattails had good advice about hiring a care giver even if they do end up just talking and watching TV. When my mother was living at home, she had a cleaning lady a few days a week; and my father said they mostly talked, instead of cleaning. I had mentioned this to the elder service people who send these people out. And they said it is quite common that the elderly person just wants to talk. I learned to fluff off my mother telling me she wouldn't call me again, or just hung up on me. I would give her time to cool off and then I would call. Actually, I do most of the calling to her now. I think just hearing the phone ring makes her feel better.

So the advice from Cattails and Jeanne would seem to help your mom since she is alone and you have other responsibilities as well. Bless you with those triplets!!! You sound like a very loving daughter; hope you find something that helps.
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Your mom has a cleaning lady, but does she have a care giver that can come in and just sit with her, make lunch, get her up and watch a tv show with her, look through photo albums, talk about whatever?

You have a very full and busy life and you can't be your mom's daily companion. You didn't say if your mom was taking anti-depressants. If she isn't, maybe that should be considered. She sounds lonely and you are all she has so the logical place to go for conversation is you.

For several years, I was taking care of both my parents and had them living in a small house on our property. I ran myself ragged dealing with all my mom's medical problems, cleaning their house, cooking their meals, fixing her hair, handling their finances, medications, shopping, doctor appointments, etc. I finally hired a care giver to come in and do the bathing for my mom. I also wanted her to do some light housekeeping, to give me a break. My mom, on the other hand, decided that she wanted the care giver to sit and watch TV with her. So that's pretty much what the $25.00 an hour, 3 hours per day, 3 days a week ended up being. I know my mom realized that I wanted a break and in a major way, her insistence for a TV companion was really about control. Nevertheless, it made her happy and gave me an emotional break. My mom had my dad for company, but your mom is alone. I don't know your circumstances, but I'm just offering this as a suggestion. Maybe it would give your mom an new focus. Hugs.
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Oh dear. How terribly stressful for you. First, accept reassurance that this is not your fault, and her anger is not justified. I know you know that but it doesn't hurt to say it out loud. Not my fault.

Has irrational anger gone with your mother's depression in the past? Is she showing any other new behaviors? Perhaps her doctor should be made aware of any significant changes.

Is she taking her depression meds as directed, do you know?

Call her when it is convenient for you. Be loving and attentive. If she starts to call you again, fine. If she doesn't, well that gives you more control.

Can your children call her regularly? Would she enjoy hearing what they did in school? It wouldn't be appropriate for her to moan and groan about the cleaning person -- would she recognize that and speak accordingly? I don't think you want to subject your kids to mentally ill ramblings (until/unless they are old enough to deal with it), but if it could work out it might be good for all parties concerned.

They could periodically send her cards -- homemade or carefully selected. No need to wait for an occasion, just a cheer up gesture.

Some days I would like nothing better than to stay in bed all day. But I'll bet that would get old real fast. In fact I was going nuts after just a few days when I had foot surgery. So I really feel sorry for your mother spending so much time in bed, and being depressed on top of it! And it is not like she has exciting things to talk about, so no wonder she goes on and on about the cleaning person. Poor dear. I'm sure you feel sorry for her too, and do everything you can think of to provide some joy. I just hope that doesn't lead to feelings of guilt when you aren't totally successful. It is not your fault.

Good luck.
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