How do I set limits with my mother?

Asked by

Hi my mom has lived with me and my husband for 20 years. She will be 81. I am not working at the time so Monday through Friday during the time my husband works its me and mom. While I set her typing this I realize I have her out of the house doing some type of running 4 out of the 5 days.It is getting groceries, bible study, getting her hair done.Or just letting her walk around a store to look. We take her out to dinner on Friday nights and to lunch after church on Sundays. On top of that. she is the biggest drama queen and everything that goes on is all about her,she has to be in the mix of everything.If someone makes her mae she tears them apart.I told my brother and he agrees she has issues. Not so much health as mental. She feels she needs to be catered to and noone should go anywhere without telling her or taking her.She does have curviture of the spine so she has trouble walking long ways or for long periods of time without a cane or something to hold onto.She will want to go to the mall then in 20 minutes is ready to leave.I takes 20 minutes to get there so it is fusterating to say the least. If we stay home she makes ne feel I should do nothing but sit in front of her and talk to her.To tell the truth it is hard to find anything to talk about .As she always wants to talk about the past how bad she had it how she lost her husband and two sons. No one has had this happen.She tells so many lies to other people and even us we never know when she is being turthfull.So this also makes it hard to talk to her.But yet on Saturdays if my husband and me want to do something with out her she trys her best to make us feel bad about it.I sometimes just plain resent her.She will not get involved with any activities that i will not do. It is getting the time of year that on the weekend we want to ride are bike or take the boat out. We have taken her to the boat but again she is ready to come home in a half hour and it takes longer to get to the lake than that.Plus our adult kids and grandkid like to ski. Which she cant take going fast because of her back.Thank you for letting me vent.

Answers 1 to 4 of 4
Wow, you have had your boundary breaking, self-focused, pity party mom in your house for 20 years. How in the world have you and your marriage survived all of this? You and your husband must be saints! :) Well, it sounds like she's gotten use to being catered to for 20 years and is not about to change now. Maybe, it is time for her to have a change of residence like to assisted living or something so that you and your husband can have your life back.
Top Answer
I would suggest that you see a Therapist to help you with setting limits. It sounds like your Mother views herself as the Matriarch of the family and therefore the boss and what she says must be done. You need to practice the word “no” over and over again and start to use it. After 20 years it will take practice to set some limits and use the “no” word.
How about this week you pick a place to go without her? If she asks/expects to go with you just say “no, not today” and leave. Do not let her use guilt before you leave or after you come back. If she starts to lay on a guilt trip, leave the room. Do not engage in any conversation where she is trying to make you feels guilty. Good luck and remember to practice “no”.
I agree with GemG and would add that both you and your husband need to see a therapist to deal with your mother who has dominated and trained you two with her emotional blackmail.

Share your answer

Please enter your Answer

Ask a Question

Reach thousands of elder care experts and family caregivers
Get answers in 10 minutes or less
Receive personalized caregiving advice and support