How to handle an adult abusive mother?

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Similar to sticks, Mother worships my brother, treats me with flamboyant abuse on a random but frequent basis. Has all my life. My brother is not accessible to assist because of his wife. She uses the kiddos to manipulate the grandparents. My brother and I used to be very close before they married and I think she was jealous when their oldest child started to look up to me. The whole situation is very hurtful. We are all financially independent, living in our own homes. I am a single professional, long distance relationship. My divorced Mother has been described as Narcissistic by our family counselor and I have been described as having family scapegoat disorder. Dad is not accessible either, and displays some sort of avoidance behavior lately.

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To add more info, I worry. Mom has made some poor financial decisions in recent years, has health problems, and does not deal with either. In stead, she projects anything wrong she can find with me 5,000x with a screaming and yelling match. Made up things. One example is last fall she found someone had egged her front door, and she called me up screaming and accusing me of driving over there in the middle of the night and opening her front door while she was asleep and throwing eggs. Really? I hung up when she was screaming "young lady, you are in trouble!" This followed by about five text messages saying she was going to call the police. Yep the paddy wagon young lady. So later that eve, I get my boyfriend on a 3 way call with her and he talks some sense into her. Basically we proved my alibi from our skype session. Pitiful. So then she refuses to call the police department, to have them take a report... About three of these a week, I am emotionally exhausted and worried I am going to come home from a business trip and find her at the bottom of her huge wooden staircase.
Get the book "Coping with your difficult older parent, a guide for stressed-out children". It has helped me and many of my friends.
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As long as you're alive you have the chance to learn and practice new responses. This is your life, to grow in. For example, you do not have to answer every accusation -- you know what's true. Don't keep trying to prevent each consequence she threatens. Whether she calls the police and reports YOU or fails to call the police to report what happened, doesn't really matter. Deal with what actually happens, that's plenty enough work. It's totally exhausting and unnecessary to try to PREVENT all the time. And it feeds into anxiety (which is worrying about stuff that hasn't happened yet, so a waste of time) and also into a fundamentally false belief in more control than you actually have (which keeps you hooked in). Learn more about how narcissism works: if she is feeling bad then she needs you to feel bad too. Everything she says or does to you is actually information about HER state. And accept the limits of your power: if you find her at the bottom of her huge wooden staircase, you find her at the bottom of her huge wooden staircase, and....not to be horrible about it, but the bottom line is.... so? You will help her get up, if you can, but you didn't put her there and you can't prevent her from getting there.
agc757, maybe I am missing something but why would you tolerate someone (mother or not) verbally abusing you? If it were me and she called to berate me the phone would be turned off, texts unanswered. It's not to late to set boundries. Next time she goes into one of her snits, calmly but firmly tell her that until she can speak to you in a calm and respectful tone of voice the two of you have nothing to discuss. Like it or not your brother needs to provide some type of support, if it is not assisting in person then he needs to call mom and reiterate what you told her.
I totally relate to your problem. I too have an abusive mother. For some reason since I was very small I've been her target. I don't know what she has done to you, but if you are living in the same home, when she starts on you WALK AWAY. She'll talk at your back, tell you that you are running away, but KEEP WALKING till you get away from her. At her age she is not going to change and you are the only one that can do anything to difuse the sitation. I am living in my parents home along with my 20 yr old son who helps with the heavy stuff. My Dad does his best to keep her away, but at times he cannot, or is not home to help me. I have not been hit or physically abused yet. But, she has followed me into my room with a bowl of vomit (my Dad had a C-Diff infection) and if it had not been for my son stopping her she would have thrown it in my face.

Anyway, dealing with this type of problem, especially since they are our parents is one of the most difficult problems we will ever face. BUT that being said, your health and well being is of utmost concern especially since you are in the position of caregiver to an aging parent. Her behavior will be better, then get worse again when the disease progresses. You are in control, not your Mom. Walking away from a situati on will help. Make sure she is fed, dressed and safe, then leave her alone to pitch her abuse at the walls and furniture. Buy a pair of ear plugs, or put earbuds in and listen to music so you cannot hear her abuse while you do what is necessary to help her.

The other thing that I do for myself is go to a Psychologist to keep myself centered and get advice on how to help my Mom and my Dad, and make sure I am not behaving inappropriately. It really does help and I highly recommend it if you have the health insurance to defray the cost.

Get on your brothers case until he comes on board or walks away. You don't need another problem on top of what you are already dealing with.

I wish you peace of mind and a nudge to let you know that you are not alone.

Thank you so much for the answers!
A resource that I have recommended on other threads is Learning to Say NO: Establishing Healthy Boundaries by Carla Wills-Brandon. In relationships, where one person ends and another begins sometimes gets blurry, especially with parents and children....that weird thing that happens when we are transformed back in time to when we HAD to do as we were told....and our present day mindset somehow thinks that is still the rule, even though logically we know it's not so.....Learning how to set boundaries is one of the most valuable tools I can think of, especially with overbearing, abusive and/or narcissistic people.

I agree with the earlier response that said as much as it seems like your mother is causing these are enabling her to reach you and hurt you with her words and behavior. I know it is very hard. I get caught in thinking that maybe *this* time things will be different...there is something fundamental in me that NEEDS to believe there can be a real relationship with my dad...but in reality, I know it's not going to happen. I can care about him from a detached state, but keep my boundaries in place and protect myself as much as possible, and you can do it too. Give yourself permission to have your own life. You can easily put a block on your cell phone so that she will not be able to call or text you. Now, she might figure out how to get around that, but the fact that she can't just get you easily to beat you up verbally, will be a start to the message that you are not her punching bag. She will be furious that you are not at her beck and call...but stand strong. Regardless of the fact that many people try to say otherwise, children are NOT responsible for their parents, legally or emotionally.

Your father is still living...he CHOSE your mother and as long as he is living and able to care for her, HE should be doing so. At the very least he should be organizing and coordinating the care. His avoidance might signal some other problems or maybe he can't deal with her anymore....have you tried talking with him to see if he's okay? he might benefit from some counseling himself.

Regarding your brother.....try to let go of the fact that your mom treated you differently. You are grown ups now and given the fact that she's a bit *off* in the first place, it doesn't seem fair to hold your mom's actions against your brother. Now, where his wife is concerned, that's a bit different. It sounds like she has some kind of problem with you and maybe you need to try and get a handle on what's going on there, to see if it can be remedied...OR let your brother and his family go. When Mom needs something, let her call the wife. Sometimes some distance (physically and emotionally) is a very good treatment for these kinds of situations. Check yourself out of the whole drama and let them interact without your input at all. Maybe it will get better; maybe not. But you can take some time to figure out if/how you want to be involved in the lives of these people.

Best wishes to you. I hope you find some peace.
agc757, I hear you loud and clear. Mine DID report me for elder abuse (writing the daughter of a friend a horrible letter in which she described herself as being "confined in jail" with "food being withheld" and "no privacy and I never get out" -- all of it lies because she wasn't getting her own way (you can read more of my postings on other threads and I'm sure you will identify). The end result of her sending this letter caused: a report to the senior agency for elder abuse, phone calls to the police, a letter written by the recipient that my mother knew would get her some action (the recip had a relative on the police force, apparently), a visit to my home by the police and numerous phone calls from them (to which she listened in on the phone extension), and finally a visit from the senior care administrator.
Just another way of making me look like the big, bad wolf and another way for her to garner attention and sympathy and another chance for her to play the victim yet again. Her biggest thrill is to shift the blame/responsibility onto someone else. Because her haughty opinion of herself tells her "false self" that she would NEVER have done anything like that!! Who, ME?
I bet yours hasn't accused you of smoking marijuana in your house!! You wouldn't believe the things this one has dreamed up......she called her best friend last week saying "You can't imagine what I had for dinner tonight - toast - that's all I got".
Well, boo hoo! That's what YOU asked for! Why? You had lost your appetite for dinner because you pigged out on all the crap you hide in your room, in your purses, drawers and coat pockets, that's why! She lies to dr. and nurse and denies that she has diabetes, denies that she has had 3 heart attacks due to blocked arteries and complains that she doesn't get enough food or the food she wants - that's because she's supposed to be on a sodium/sugar reduced diet but she doesn't care!! But I do and I try to give her good healthy food, but all she does is sabotage!
Mostly, though I wanted to thank you so much for your phrase "family scapegoat disorder" - I've been looking for a label for this behaviour all my life and I'm going to Google it right now!!
Libracat, you might find this link useful. When I went through counseling as an adult child of an alcoholic, these were things taught to us to help us realize that something much bigger was going wasn't that *we* were being bad kidz/ was part of the dance of being in a dysfunctional family....Oh wait, I'm remembering that we aren't allowed to provide web addresses, so I will say to google "adult children of alchoholics wounded family roles" and it should be the first one to pop up... You can learn about the other roles as
You know, so many of these posts are well meaning, insofar as advice goes...but it's easier said than done to follow some of the suggestions on how to handle these elderly abusive parents, particularly when you are living in the same house with them. Even under the best of circumstances, with everyone in good health and not terribly elderly, grown children living with parents rarely works out well. You can tell them to speak to you with respect and you can walk away only so often, but eventually you have to come back and get a repeat session of grief. There are no easy answers, only learning how to find coping mechanisms, counseling, and hopefully working outside of the home most of the day. @Nolansk Your mother sounds like she needs medication. Is there any way a doctor can evaluate her and prescribe meds and get her to take them? In another post on this site, someone mentioned that there is a generation of very manipulative and selfish parents who feel entitled to take from their grown children, abuse them, then accuse them of wrongdoing, when all they've tried to do is be a good son or daughter. It's SO sad. In my own mother's case, this was her nature to be mean spirited and narcissistic, ever since I can remember, so for her to have continued down that path into a 91 yr. old, demanding, lying, scheming and vicious woman isn't much of a surprise. I've blocked her phone calls and find life easier. When parents are appreciative you feel a responsibility to help them out, but to be a continual punching bag gets old particularly when you are getting up in years yourself. Finding coping mechanisms is the only remedy, until God makes His next decision.

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