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My mother is 77 and extremely co-dependent of me. I am her only caregiver and I have to work to support myself. When I'm not at work (40 hours per week) I am subject to guilt trips and negativity as she is lonely and doesn't have anything to do. I have left my dogs with her for a period of time to possible solve this issue however she is not one to listen and takes them out to much and since she is not very stable in walking has managed to break both arms at different times over a 1 year period. Therefore, I don't leave the dogs with her anymore but she is jealous when I am home that I have dog company. She jealous if I receive a phone call from a friend. Mobility is very limited with her as she refuses to use a cane or walker and prefers to hang onto me which is one of the main reasons I don't feel comfortable taking her anywhere and yet she wants to go ALL THE TIME. After working a rather complex and stressful job I just want to go home. I'm tired. I have my own responsiblities...laundry, dishes, house cleaning, linen changing etc. I've made several attempts to explain to her that I have a load covering her responsibilities (groceries, medications, bills, etc) and then meeting my needs that I can't be responsible for making her happy and entertained. There's no time for myself and as I get older (48 now) it gets harder and harder to meet the load I am caring. My mother does not have 1oz. of responsibiltiy in her body. All family member have past away at this time which leave me to handle the caregiving alone. I run daily at 120% responsibility no fun is even in my vocabulary. Yet the negativity and guilt trips and jealousy I have to deal with daily due to her being miserable is really taking it's tole on me. I've been reponsible for her since I was 16 years old. She is not in the best of health as she has heart failure. How do I have time for myself to live my life and keep her occupied? My life is more than half over and yet I haven't had the chance to live my life without guilt trips and negativity from her that I don't do enough? I give all that I have to her. There's nobody in my life because it causes so many problems trying to meet friends needs and her that I can't handle it and I have to let my friends go. I've been married twice and both times my marrage has failed and I have nothing to give when I am done with her. I have also provided her with a new computer (which she does no how to use), big screen TV, cable and I have even bought her a Kindle thinking she could fine somehow to entertain herself but there's no motovation for her to do anything but complain in self pitty. Does anyone have any advise? I am desperate. Thanks for listening.

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I have to take Mom to Dr. right now, but just found this site. I am 75 and my mother is 92, and I have the exact same issues as many of you. When I return I will take the time to read all of these posts, as I am at my wits' end, depressed (medication notwithstanding), anxious (same with medication), guilty (only child). Since at our living arrangements Mom (and Dad when he was here) had their apartment at our house. My issues with Mom have been lifelong, but serious issues did not arise until she could not get out and socialize and I retired. Then my husband passed away. I can't afford a therapist, and my friends are disgusted with me because I don't see someone. Hope to get back to this soon later today or tomorrow. Thanks for all your comments.
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All I can say is good luck...some days are good, shine days are bad,...try to take care of you...n Dont feel bad...try not to....even if you need help...tell people...ask for help from doctors n friends,... anyone the more you talk n let people know around you...let others help...are you having panic attacks yet?...mine have increased to stress attacks....and my finances have all but crumbled...holding things by a thread...get her to join something...it's hard...but if you can get her into anything that is for adult day care...even an hour...my mom goes to the hair dresser a few hours...but...it's not enough even with the multiple shopping trips...nothing is even enough...take care of yourself...watch your health...do for you too...
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sandrak320,

It depends on your definition of " I won't drive my kids insane with my need to have a close relationship with them every day of my life." Just how close is close enough before it starts to feel like a parent to child relationship instead of an adult to adult relationship.

If you are looking to return to some sort of childhood closeness, that is gone.
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I have mixed feelings about this. I would hope my own children don't think of me this way and look for permission to abandon me in my old age. The thought of growing old alone is very sad and I wonder how anyone could allow that to happen. I hate to be alone and I get bored easily. Hopefully I won't drive my kids insane with my need to have a close relationship with them every day of my life. Hopefully they will want to be here for me. Hopefully they will be want to spend time with me. I have had to take on a caregiver role with my own parents and I wish I could move in with them or vice versa so that I am able to provide more for them. It breaks my heart thinking of them being home alone day in and day out without any phone calls or visitors and I do everything I can to see them several times a week. But they don't guilt trip me at all. So I guess there is the difference. They don't deliberately try to manipulate my feelings or make me feel bad. I know they are bored and lonely tho. How could they not be after years of living with very active lifestyles? I just want to do what I can to make the most of their last year's and I pray my children feel the same way about me.
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My mother is the same - nothing is interesting to her. I find it very hard to bear as I am interested in so many things that I have to rein myself in. So people like my mother are like Martians to me. My mother is envious of my "interesting" life but in order to have an interesting life, you have to be interested in something beyond yourself and she never has been, even when I was a kid. She is only interested in things that will bring her immediate profit and thinks it is a waste of time to concern yourself with anything else. This constant demand to be entertained drives me crazy.

Ironically I am so self sufficient now partly because she was so intolerant of any of my needs for attention when I was a small child. I seem to have been incredibly independent at the age of four, I can remember taking my two year old sister to a dining room on a ship and ordering breakfast from a waiter at the age of four. My mother was seasick and I was determined to get breakfast. It has taken me years to realize that this was a little unusual.
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Thank you all for your comments, it really helped me feel better and made me relieved of my continuos sense of guilt.
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contact your local area agency on aging, she may qualify for some in home assistance. You can look into an adult medical day program. She can socialize there, participate in activities, eat a meal and sometimes they take trips all with trained staff. It can be a great place, maybe it would help with the wanderlust she is feeling. I can understand you not wanting to go out with her all the time, I care for my dad and when I go home I'm tired. Having someone to come in or getting her out to a day program may be the answer you need. good luck
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Annt, so very true what you said "To tell someone to detach and not feel guilty when They have a lifetime of ingrained guilt is like telling a blind person to describe the color red" is right in the nose! I was able to set the boundaries recently with my mom. One of which was on best time to call me. I gave her a day and even time during that day that's best and in almost three weeks she hasn't called. This is either out of spite or she told my narc dad I set boundaries and he again told her to let me go and don't worry about me. (Which is how much he cared anyway.) She texted up to Easter then that stopped as well. So of course if starts the mind wondering why, what, and how knowing she has depression along with the codependency and still hasn't updated the doctor on it. She doesn't trust me or ever do what I suggest so re stress was taking its toll. I had to back away. But you are so right. Even though I made the boundaries, she had to feel more I control by stepping it up a notch and not call at all, trying to bring on guilt. It's a never ending cycle with her. I can't help her, and made the point that I won't be her caregiver, but doubt she has made an effort to substitute me. Is this the way the generation from the 30's and 40's thrive, by guilt and abuse? So horrid. I strive never to become mean like either of them.
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I am happy to find agingcare.com. My involvement with caring for my aging parents started two years ago. My father, at 90 years old, broke his arm. Now he is bed-ridden on a state program. He lives with me. My mother and I started to care for him. Within the two years, my mother's health started failing. She does not drive anymore. She still cooks, feeds and washes my father's clothes. She says, "this is her way of staying in touch with him. The providers we have for my father seem to have difficulty getting along with my mother. They come and go.
So, this leaves me with the burden of making sure that everything involving my parents are taken care of. I have 2 other brothers and one sister. I seem to be the only one that is available to help my parents. I realize I am living 3 lives. I am single and have no social life. At 57 years old, I am still trying to create a newness in my life daily. I too, feel like my mother has victimized me. She finds problems with everything. All her conversations are negative. I thought to share my life's activities to show others they are not alone. I know this is God's plan. I still pray.
I hope to find an enjoyable life for me before my final day comes
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I too find myself trying to "cure" moms boredom. The NH has plenty of activities but she only chooses to partake in the Smokers Club which is fine but she claims the rest of the time, she's "just sitting around looking ugly" her words not mine!

Dad isn't much of a socializer but Mom is however, she won't attend functions because Dad will not go or only if I go with her, which I can't do very often...only special occassions.

Mom uses her poor eye sight as a crutch for "I can't do this, I can't see that and the other" but she sees well enough to do more than "sit and look ugly" I've tried every reasonable occupier that I can think of and she comes right back with...annnh! I forgot, or the I can'ts.

I'm learning to put the billy club down and stop beating myself up trying to cure her boredom, make her happy etc. Really, it all comes from within...we all have choices.
You are a great person, doing a wonderful job. We just have to know when enough is enough..and yes I'm still learning and you will too.
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Try Hospice, they may provide a volunteer at no cost to come and sit with her for company, and also try your local State of the Aging, they may also help with getting you assistance. I am lucky that mom took out long term insurance, it pays for someone to be here at home with her for 6 hours.
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I got my mother a kindle to use for reading. She can not to much with her hands, and taking her out to adult day care is not something she is interested in. Try getting a bird feeder and a bird book for her to do bird watching, or a fish tank, teach her about the computer, to play games on. I know, I am in the same boat as you, and TV and books are I have to entertain my mom, we have a dog, and she loves to watch her.
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Eddie - Just have to say I agree with Carol. You're a gem! Guess I appreciate your answer on the dogs as I have two. Sometimes we just need our sense of humor to get us through. I think too, seriously, that others like you from another country look at things at things differently than we do in the US. Maybe we can all learn from each other. God Bless.
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Bathing and grooming the dogs every day is a bit much, isn't it? Anyway, you get the point.
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JILL:

I'm not trying to make light of your plight, but I was thinking about getting her one of those colorful 1,000 piece puzzles with a religious motif. It kills time, allows her to express her spirituality, and instills a sense of accomplishment (if the dogs don't eat the pieces). She can also feed, bathe and groom the dogs every day. (Tell her they're going to starve and stink if she doesn't.) That should also instill a sense of responsibility. She can also fold clothes while sitting.

In sum, needy people = entrapment. Look around the house for things that she can easily do and put them on a calendar. Call it the Rehab Schedule. That's what we do with the elderly back in Brazil. Everybody's responsible for something.
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Jill and all members that have posted. My mom is 86 and has lived with us for the past 5 years. Lately, it has become more difficult. She is doing less and less physically and is looking for me and my husband for companionship. She too will not go to any senior centers. I too feel guilty, like you Jill, that she is so alone with no friends. The posts made me see that I do not need to feel guilty about her situation. Jill, you are providing her a safe home and she is not "alone" when you are home. I will have to say thank-you to all the posts it has made me feel better today that I am not alone. I just have to work on the "guilt" that I have when I don't feel like talking to her and spending time listening to her about subjects that I have no interest in. Good luck to all the caregivers out there!
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Please claim your life now while you can. Like you, I have been feeling the responsibility to care for my mother for decades. My mom has managed to make me believe that she was old and helpless since she was 60 - maybe even earlier. Now she is 90. She has several chronic conditions, including CHF, and she has lived with them for years. Jill, it is you and I who are the co-dependents. I became enmeshed in my mom's life, too, thinking I was responsible for protecting her from illness and financial strain, I was responsible for making sure she was not alone for weekends, holidays, I was responsible for her happiness. You can't live this way, it will catch up to you, your mom could live another 20 years. It sounds like your mom is living on her own. Why are you paying her expenses - can she not make ends meet? Maybe she needs to change her living situation to something she can afford so she is not financially draining you. Are you planning and saving for your own retirement? Sit down and start making some lists. What do you want your life to look like? How will you get there? Do you want to do some volunteer work one day a week, do you want to take a class, do you want to date, do you want to travel? How can you get these things done? Make a list of what you are really willing to do for your mom - this will be hard because you really have to think about which things you are doing now solely out of guilt and obligation. Do you want to end her financial dependence on you? Do you want to limit the amount of time you see her? Make a list of what makes you feel guilty and why. Let go of the guilt. You need to start questioning these so ingrained feelings and create some healthy boundaries and establish your own life. Yes, you will have to tell your mother about the changes you are making and you may need professional help to figure out how to do this but you have to get out of the enmeshment. Remember, a loving mother would not want you to give up your own life for her. Please take care of yourself, don't end up isolated and resentful, take care of your own life first. Seriously, please do this, please make your own life.
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Jill, your mom has trained you well via emotional blackmail through Fear, Obligation and Guilt which has led to you not having a life. You are an emotionally abused and isolated person which tells me that you need some serious therapy to help you claim the life that it sounds like you never really had for your whole 48 years. It also sounds from your mom's jealousy that you did not fail at marriage twice, but that in reality, I bet your mother destroyed both of those marriages. Thus, I think you are way, way, way too hard on yourself. I think more marriages are destroyed by a spouse's parent or parents than we want to admit. You might need to remind yourself everyday that you are no longer your mother's little girl. No! You are your mother's adult daughter and despite your mom, you are going to live like one and have an adult life like one. I guess you can tell that your story has made me very angry and it did not even happen to me. Take care. Get therapy! Set boundaries and claim your life as an adult as well as leave being your mom's emotional and social slave.
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What is it you want lifted from you?

It sounds like a housekeeper for each of your homes would be a great place to start. Then you would have more space to live your own life.

Does she have a room in her house she can rent out to another. Take the money from that rent and pay for the house keeper.

When my husband was working full time and going to school fulltime I was very lonely. I was working full time myself. We rented a room to another young woman and it was reassuring just to have another human around. It was interesting that even though we lived seperate lives it was good to know I was not alone.
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My dad past away 9/28/10 he was 77 yrs.old I left my daughter and 9 yr.old granddaughter to care for my mom,my parents were married 56 horrible yrs.My mom cannot forgive really no one for anything.She is angry at eveyone it seems,I do everything I know to do,to try to get her to eat,I fixed her a plate og yogart and cottagecheese which she likes to eat,my brother caught her pouring it down the drain,tonight,I cooked baked fish,callard greens she says she likes and some salad then she says she isn't eating supper.I make her milkshakes with protien and I give her 2tps.of Iron because she is anemic,I put carrots,some grapes diabetic boost,sugarfree Icecream, to help her gain wieght,she is only 84 pounds,and it seems like she is trying to starve herself to death,I made her oatmeal at 11am she refused anything at breakfast,I have therapist and nurses coming here,I'm worried of her holding so much hatred for my dad.I have forgiven him.She cannot,and she talks to herself,alot a nurse told me to put moniters in her room because of her heart,& her being diabetic,if she has to call and I can't hear her,I can hear her on the moniter,I hear her telling my dad how much she hates him and hopes he's burning in hell.It's scary!!.I go to church and I am a christian woman what should I do???? I Love my mom I am worried about her mental state??
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Jill, my heart goes out to you. I,too, had a emotionaly black mailing mother. I'm 51 now. She passed away in 1994. I'm still dealing with issues of guilt. The advice you have received here is awesome. My mother would threaten to kill herself or leave. As a child we always think it's our fault. I know it's easier said than done to not let it all get to us. Take care of yourself and do check into getting some counseling help.
Hang in there.
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Lots of helpful advice throughout all the posts, you definetly are not alone...makes me wonder if this is how many of us became caregivers for the difficult ones that we care for; Guilt, un-established boundaries, co-dependency to name a few.

The first step to recovery is to admit that "you" have a problem then want to change it and take the steps to do it. You may want to look into getting Counseling, you have lost a lot, don't you think it's time to regain your life? You owe it to yourself, you may be surprised, your Mom may actually feel a since of relief ( I'm an optimist) however, she will have no choice but to accept the new you...you are all that she has. You have and are doing a wonderful job!

I wish you well.
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Have you tried an adult day care program? Many caregivers find this to be a true respite which allows them time for themselves, while offering the care recipient, your mother in this case, an opportuniy to connect with her peers, socialize, and enjoy a day away from her usual routine at home. Check local adult day centers in your area, and invite your mother to try a complimentary "guest day', where she can experience the day program for herself. If she resists, say you need to do this for yourself, and tell her to try a few 'guest days', or just begin going once a week and then work your way up to a few days a week. I beleive if you are persistant in telling her you need this for both of you, she may surprise you and enjoy herself after a while.
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kathleenbrandl: I wish that many years ago I had the information you just gave to Jill. I would just like to say that I had an account with my grandfather and took care of everything since he lived with me. My mother and uncle had no time for him. Anyway, he passed without signing his will and, of course, his accounts were immediately frozen. After much legal haggling etc. I did not get a penny as I was told that my Mom and uncle were next to kin and I was only a grandaugter. I took him in because I loved and cared for him as he loved and cared for me when my parents didn't have a thing when I was born. I was not looking for any payment anyway just enjoying his company and stories and wisdom. Well, this is the past and now is the present. The family split and I have not seen them in over 30 years. Sad. Have tired to no avail. This is why I posted about the legal end as I do not wish for others to go through the same heartaches. It still hurts but things aren't going to change ever! I still think of all the good things he did for me. Your post had a lot of good info. Also, I lived in CA at the time of all of this. I was wondering if it was the same in all states. I have just one more thing to add to this lengthy post (sorry). Be sure to keep good records on the account. The lawyers are murder on this. If all the "i's" and "ts" aren't done it can become a nightmare.
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As far as the $ goes, your mother can 'gift' you $10k per year. If your mother is willing, you go in together (bank) and open an account with both names and you can both use it. Will she do this, I don't know. Your mother has learned how to control you and other's through emotion. You intern have learned to be controlled. All YOU can change is your reaction and thoughts to 'all' events. Think differently about her moods, needs, comments etc, and how you choose to have them affect you. This will help set healthier boundries for you. We are never to old to make changes in our lives but we can't do it for someone else. Contact "Mobile Physicians" (look up a mobile outfit in your area). My mom had insurance + medicare. Doctor's, nurses, and aid's, come to you and also get Hospice involved when it's overwhelming for the caretaker. Your mom in order for Hospice to get involved doesn't have to be on her last leg as we all seem to think. At least you'll get advice and professional opinions to help your decision process.
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My mom moved to the town I live in about 11 years ago, she is 89 now. We had a frank discussion that I couldn't be her sole source of entertainment. But as she has aged, she has become less outgoing or willing to put up with people who don't have exactly the same views as she does on everything, she also refuses to go to the senior center because she doesn't know anyone there. I know my situation is very different from yours, but sometimes it is helpful just to know you are not alone in your feelings. I too feel guilty for not being entertaining enough. I am also 48, have a full time job, and two children in middle and high school. I don't have alot of extra time. Sometimes, my Mom just has to be bored, I can't cure her boredom. You cannot cure your mom's boredom, you have tried, you have done your best, you cannot do better than your best. Try to go easier on yourself, you deserve it. Also, as far as the refusing to use the cane. I have told my mother that if she won't bring her cane, I won't take her. She also sometimes wears inappropriate shoes for where we are going. I tell her she can't go with me if she doesn't change her shoes, and guess what, she gets mad. Oh well, be mad. You are going to have to take a stand for yourself. You will still feel guilty, but you will have made a start. I really hope you find some time for yourself. Hang in there.
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suethequilter - I think all these posts have very good ideas but I have to disagree with you about moving some of the money into your own account to have Mom qualify for anything. This can cause a lot of legal problems which I'm sure Jill doesn't need on top of everything else. I hope I haven't turned her post into a different direction. Sorry.
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You must take care of yourself. It is not selfish to be good to yourself. Try to provide the bare basics for your mom. Food, a short visit or phone call. Suggest that maybe someone else could come and sit with her a couple of times a week because you just CAN'T. Remove yourself from the position of social director or coach. I felt the same way about my mom but she lives with me and is 88 with moderate to severe dementia. I went through the feeling like I had to offer her things to do, much like you would a little child that you were babysitting. It is draining and finally I came to the realization that she is who she is, she has things around her to do but refuses to engage and enjoy...so let her sit, let her be bored, let her complain but do not let it get to you. You can tell her that you have other responsibilities much like she had when she was your age and you have to attend to them. We are all here to listen and support you - HUGS
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I totally agree with Christina28 and Suethequilter. Like Christina mentioned, you have to take care of yourself first. Having retired as an HR Manager, if your funds are low, perhaps check into your company's mental health program within your insurance hopefully at a very reasonable co-pay and see if you can go to a helping professional. Also, Suethequilter mentioned the senior day program. This is a very good outlet for your mom. These two ladies have a wealth of knowledge and wisdom. I wish you the best and I too wish for you strength and peace.
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Hi Jill,
My mother is the queen of the guilt trips so I understand your pain. I had to guit working to care for her 24/7 and it has really taken it's toll on my life and health. Now I don't think I could physically work unless the enconomy picks up to the point of supporting the real estate market again. I cannot do any lifting and even sitting at a computer for more than a few minutes hurts my back. So if you have a good job, hold on to it and if your health is relatively good, keep it that way.

Caregiving is incredibly hard whether you stay home with your charge or work and have to come home to it. Congratulate yourself for your self-sacrificing spirit and don't let her make you feel bad about yourself. If your mother is like mine and has parented by using guilt to keep you in line, she will definitely not change at this point. It will only get worse. Detach now! You are doing an amazing thing so you have absolutely nothing to feel guilty about. The only person you can change is you. Do it now before it's too late!

It sounds like your mom can walk some without falling, but then so can my mom. About half the time she can walk without assistance, but then at any given moment she will fall and injure herself. That is going to happen whether you are there or not. I'm here all the time and yet mom has fallen too many times to count and really hurt herself. Broken bones, skin tears and staples in her head. Don't feel guilty about her falls. She wants you to feel guilty enough to do what I did and quit working and stay home with her. I learned the hard way that that's not going to help her and may render you unfit to do anything else but care for her. And you'll be doing that in pain.

To tell someone to detach and not feel guilty when they have a lifetime of ingrained guilt is like telling a blind person to describe the color red. It's impossible for me at this point, I'm 60. Maybe at 48 you have a chance to change things. I'm just now learning to detach from SOME of the guilt. A shame I didn't do it sooner, but at least now,(that my physical health is in serious danger) I am making some small progress. I still walk beside mom, but I usually don't hold on to her, I let her do it. Again, one reason I don't hold on to her is that I've strained my rotator cuff and it's very painful to do so. Don't wait for that, go ahead and let her do it on her own and maybe just walk beside her. If she claims she needs to hold on to you, tell her it's better for you both if you just walk beside her.

If she has an income and you don't need it to pay your own bills, use it for day care or in home sitter. Get out at night! Make some friends and have a girls nite out at least once a month. Take a dance class (you don't need a partner, my son met his present wife at a dance class and they are very happy together) or join a book club, church, sewing group, anywhere there are people. Your job may be the first place to start.

As someone said once....don't do as I do, do as I say do. I am just now letting friends and family sit with mom so I can get out of the house. But I almost turned into a basket case before I let go of the guilt enough to do it. Mom pouts when I go, but I just let her do it and try to ignore it.

Sorry this was such a long post, but I can so identify with you and wish I could change your outcome. In some strange way it would make me feel I was changing mine.

Take care, I will be thinking of you.
Ann

Be strong for yourself Jill, now while you still can.
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