Do I pick my family or my mother if caring for her is breaking my family apart?


My mother is 82 years old. She hasn't been diagnosed with alzheimers or dementia, but is spiraling more and more rapidly into the bitter, angry and rage filled life that is driving me and my family insane.
She doesn't live with us (thank God) but still manages to be a big part of my daily life. I can't work full time because of her daily demands and I have to inform her everytime I'm leaving the house, otherwise she will leave dozens of messages crying and screaming because she doesn't know where I'm at. She has actually called my husband at work sobbing and presuming me dead because I hadn't called her at the time that she thought I was supposed to. I'm a subsitute teacher and I don't always have a schedule that I can inform her of ahead of time. I am expected to call her during my lunch time everday, but some days are later than others, and I can't exactly put my class on hold while I call my mother.
She yells at my husband and kids whenever we do get together with her, but last weekend was so bad that she had my son (16 years old) in tears. I told her she would have to leave my house and now she is blaming him for this rift that has come up. She has no clue that his crying was do to her outrageous and demeaning behavior and that after putting up with it for 16 years, he simply snapped. Now, she wants to give him her car, to try and buy back his love. She alsways turns to gifts or money to try and buy our love, but then throws it in our face whenever we disapprove of her behavior. I have tried to explain to her that we do not want her money or her gifts, we would just like to be accepted and loved by her and treated nicely. She has told me that I am too overprotective of my children and they should just love their grandmother no matter what she says to them or how she treats them, even though she belittles them with every word. There is never any praise or encouragement, only critisism and anger. Her latest outrage is that my 13 year old daughter has a cell phone and spends much time texting her friends. She didn't have that as a kid, so why should my daughter have it. I don't believe they had cell phones in the 1930's did they?? LOL
I have now begun to set boundaries, but she can not/will not accept them. It is I who have caused the problems, it is I that ordered her out of my house even though she had done nothing to deserve it, it is my sons fault for crying, since, of course, she didn't cause that! According to her she is the nicest person and everyone loves her. In her retirement community where she lives, she has no friends and everyone avoids her because of her violent outbursts. Even the receptionist has started to call me to tell me of her latest outburst and crying fit and to inform me of whose feelings she hurt and abused each day. But, mom does not see this. They are all "stupid" in her opinion and since they don't want to do or think the same way as her, they must be "crazy" and they deserve to be yelled at.
I can't have her around my children any more, now that I realize how severely they are affected by her behavior. My husband does not want her in our home anymore. I still need to do for her and take her places, but now must always do it without my family. I understand why they feel this way, as I do too, but I don't know how to handle the situtation.
I am an only child, my mother has no siblings that are still alive, my father is dead....
Please give me some advice on how to handle her anger and despair, rudeness, critism and nastinest , but still be able to enjoy my husband and kids.

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Hi Mitzi! Thanks, and you're right on the short memory. Usually if you forget to log in, after you try to submit, it will prompt you to login, it did that last night, and something funky kept happening. I was sooooo worried it was my computer, and I wouldn't be able to talk to anyone today. Whewwww!!
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dede and nauseated... you must be logged in for the entire post to take. I can't tell you how many times I've got "try #2" on my posts because I forgot to log in. It has a short memory but will not save everything, so make sure your logged in before you post.
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Same thing happened to me twice last night. I just copied it to another file, and I will try to paste, see what happens.
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Thank you for all your help and encouragement.
I wrote a really long reply to all of you, but when I went to post, I got some computer error and lost it all.
I'll comment more later. Thanks again
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Oh, Dede,
I had to change my numbers just to have peace and not to get wrapped back up in the same old trap. She can call my husband or write if she wants to but I know in my heart she will not do that either. It has been more peaceful around here and if she calls my husband, he will let me know. He tells her like it is. I have wrote her at Valentine card and I have sent her little gifts myself but until she changes or realize what she doing I will not be there for her and she knows it. Tuff love is hard but some times we have to treat them like children.Least that what her doctor told me to do. It hurts but I just wait and watch right now. This is a great group to talk with though and they will make you smile.

Least she is giving your child stuff mine will not even acknowledge my son some time and usually dotes on the granddaughter.So unfair to my son but I should have seen that coming also becuase she was that way with my brother and I.

Best advice I can give you is
your mother makes her choice and whaty she chooses is between her and God. Not you and her and God. You may have to get tuff with her just so your family can have peace but you will find peace with God knowing you have put it in His hands. Hope this helps.

Have a great weekend.
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Thank you for your kind words, and I believe that people have to step up to the plate and be honest with themselves. That is what healing and dealing with all these issues are about. Choices to care and choices to get through this.

Stories I believe help in the healing process. The perfect example is on these boards. I've come to realize a few things while being on these boards and telling my stories have actually helped in the healing and realization of certain facts. Hearing others tell of present and past situations help me (as I'm sure it does others). Those of us with the abuse and dysfunction already have the scars. Those scars are of memories of the past. We can't forget the past, but we can forgive it. Remind me some time if anyone is interested what my counselor told me about "forgive and forget" - that has been a huge factor for me.

I hope that others here learn the same thing. I don't purposely go out of my way to visit mom or be around her. If I have to do something, I can do it. If not, I can go months without seeing or talking to her if possible. I'm numb to it now and actually feel sorry that she has to live like this. It honestly breaks my heart. But that sympathy and compassion does not erase the past. It is becoming closure.

Again, my heart goes out to those who do it at home 24/7. After I lived in the hospital and rehab with my father (literally), I have a deep love and appreciation for nurses and caregivers who deal with seniors (especially). It is a difficult and many times thanksless job, and one I know I could not do for the length that many do here. I loved on the staff something fierce when I stayed with dad. I learned the hearts of those around, and I provided things for them that others forgot about.

I hope others can see and witness the healing from hearing about the past and how to move forward. Thank you for the passion. God's many blessings to you.
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Hey you guys , haven't posted in awhile been busy. I can relate to all of you. Dede I understrand about the mother buying your love. Mine does the same thinks she can buy me. I hate it to the core. Then she thinks everything is peachy cream because she either gave me money or bought something for me. I told her along time ago I can't be bought. It makes me sick to my stomach when all I want is peace with her.
Well folks three weeks I have not heard from my mother , nor has she wrote me so I am still sitting and waiting for what her next move is. I am praying and trying to give her time to see what she needs and wondering if she ever will. This is so tuff.
I fill like screaming to top of my lungs. Went to movies with my son today to see Coroline hate to say it but the mother sounds like mine. Great movie we all can relate to some how.

Oh, Dede I do agree protect your children. Her behavior wqill effect them. If you have to explain to them their grandmother is not well and getting oilder and she may say things she really doesn't mean or can't understand. My mother effected my son so much he doesn't know whether to love or dislike his grandmother and that really pains me because that is all he has left is his grandmothers and right now it looks like he has only one gtrandmother becuase of my mother. Both of his grandfathers have passed. So it hurts me allot to see this happening. She is also hurt my neice on many occasions.

I just hope and pray one day she will realize she needs helps soon.

All this is so strange it sounds likwe our parents are allot like and I just can't help wondering if it wasn't something to do with the time period in which they grew up. Just like some one said you sow what you reap. I wonder if they were all working on the same piece of the puzzle and got confused. He-he

Praying for you guys. Have a great weekend.
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Mitzipinki -
It sounds as if you are already healing a bit. Boundaries are always important. And if you are unable to care for your parent yourself, you recognize that and have made certain that she is somewhere that you can visit / make certain that she is ok. If that is as good as it gets and you are at peace with that - good for you.

I still do want to stand by what I said about rehashing old stories - I think sometimes its like picking at a scab that will never heal. I hope over time you use your considerable writing skills and intellect to help others as well as bringing closure to your own caregiving journey.

best for now!
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Cat, I agree however, I believe what people need to realize is the difference between a dysfunctional abusive parent as compared to a person who has changed due to the disease of Alzheimer's, Dementia, or just the plain fear of the changes that have occurred that are life altering for them as a senior.

When a person like a few of us who have a dysfunctional parent, there are boundaries that need to be set. Yes, we reap what we sow, but think of what our parent sowed when they were younger. They may actually be getting it back in spades.

I don't like that I have to not like my mother at all. But I also see my dad who has Alzheimer's and it breaks my heart. I make sure he is cared for and I can't get angry or frustrated at him because he cannot help it. My mother has proved her behavior time and time again over 40 years. She broke the relationship, not me.

I am grateful that I am learning well to set the boundaries so that they will not affect my life and I can sow a good life for when I get older. It has been extremely important for me to do that. Sometimes the past also educates us to change us, and for that I am grateful. Sometimes you can forget about the past and move on, but when there are abuses and flat out purposeful behaviors it makes caregiving that much more of a struggle to deal with. I wish I could say otherwise.

But for those who choose to be a caregiver, think about the reasons why you do it. I made choices (for my parent's better living) that I can be peaceful about. I still don't have to take the crap that's dished out, but I know she is well taken care of, and I have nothing to feel guilty about.

My heart goes out to all the caregivers here and the passion we all have to care for the "person" as a human being. Not everyone can do it, so thank you for the passion and love to do it.
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Cat, I loved your last post. You sound a lot like myself. I love my mom though and I don't think I had the same relationship with her that dede had with her mom. I think a person reaps what they sow so now her mom is getting the treatment Dede felt she got while growing up. My mom is too, but luckily for her, she will be treated with love.
My mother-in-law on the other hand, as hard as I try to love her, is a lot like Dede's mom. I have tried to help her in the past, but got hurt in the end so I confronted her in a very long letter about how I felt. Of course she totally disagreed with me, but even her own children dislike her, so I didn't let what she said to me, ruin my day. I just distance myself from her. My husband is free to visit her any time he wants as I would never take that away from him, but then he really doesn't visit her very often and I either see or talk to my mom every day.
Good luck Dede with whatever decision you make for yourself, but you are right by not subjecting your family to your mom's poison.
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