Why do wives throw away their marriages to care for their mothers?

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castoff ,

That's good news!
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HUGE thanks to ALL of you for your insights. It's been a real eye opener and even an epiphany or two.
THANK YOU Crowe for having started this thread.

So often I have attempted to get a favorable reaction from mom. I know in my heart it is fruitless, but keep setting myself up for hurt. I am determined not to anymore.
I will continue to care for her as best I can but now realize NOTHING will MAKE her love me. How silly I have been.
Mom sees the entire world as a circus in which we are all to perform for her. She has said: "I never ask anyone to do anything for me." This to a degree is true. She is too proud to ask for help, but has no trouble coming up with elaborate schemes to get one to SERVE her! The problem is that with age she has become increasingly transparent and no longer good at the con. I have attempted to keep society as a whole free from her evil ways, but there are times when I fail. Oddly enough, she wonders why people avoid and flee from her after she has taken advantage of them. "I've been alone all my life" she says. Oh gee I can't imagine why!!!!
I laughed almost uncontrolably when I first saw the new Alice in wonderland promo where the queen barks for a pig to be placed under her feet. Reminded me so of my dear sweet mother. lol. My husband also chuckled. She will not divide us, we are onto her game.
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What I'd like to see here are positive comments on how to get through these type of situations,what has been attempted by others even if it didn't work. Every family has it's own dynamics and what doesn't work for one may work for another. By being on this topic or website clearly shows people are frustrated and are trying or wanting to make their situations better. So - let's help each other. OK?
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MiaMadre, I didn't say you weren't welcome on this post. I don't take care of my mother anymore either, but I still join in. Everybody is free to and welcome to post anywhere on this site. Let's just say that I interpreted your words to mean something that you may not have meant them, as I read. How I interpret misery loves company must not be how you take it to mean. I don't have any kind of misery in my life and if I did, I'd keep it to myself and not give it to others. And if I can't fathom something, it makes me want to try to understand it so I can have empathy for others.
I am very sorry you have lost your mother. You loved her and you will miss her forever. Try to remember her as she was before that cruel disease took over her mind. My dad has been gone for 14 yrs. I think of him every day, I don't dwell on what he was when he departed but the sweet daddy he was to me all my life. I still cry when something reminds me of him. He was my rock and a part of my world became empty when he left. You took good care of your mother and I know that brings you immeasurable comfort.
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I am not married, but I don't think that the behavior that can lead to ruining marriages can only happen when the parent is demanding they be taken care of and when the relationship is a bad one.

My mom and I were always very close. We both worked in professional careers and were able to talk to each other about work issues, etc. We talked every week and I visited several times a year. A few times we even took vacations together.

Now she has Alz and is living with me. I am struggling to keep going on with my life and not give her all my time and energy. Just recently I have had to decide on whether or not to apply for a promotion (I did) and how often I can make plans to go out with friends. Before mom moved in, I lived alone and just did what I wanted.

Mom is not asking for all my time or demanding that I give it to her. I love her and want to do the best I can for her. At the same time, I know that she is relatively young, in decent physical shape, and this could go on for years. I could see myself suddenly 10 years from now not having moved forward at all; I need to make sure that doesn't happen.

I guess I'm just trying to say that it can be very easy to devote a lot of time and energy to your parents because it is what you want to do. That could end up damaging a marriage, even if it is unintentional.

And once you start, it is hard to stop. I am now starting to look for memory care facilities for Mom. Some people who know me think I should get her placed now (if there are openings). Even though I know this is what she would have told me to do if she could, I am still holding on. Right now I think that maybe in 6-12 months it will be time to have her live somewhere else.

The head is telling me what I should do, but the heart has not let go yet.
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Boundaries in Marriage - yes, that was the name of the book my husband and I read! By Drs. Cloud and Townsend. Now my teen daughter is reading Boundaries in Dating. What was hard is that my mom and I get along great for the most part. But the fact that she would not reach out and make friends, and wanted me (as the sibling who lived the closest) to be her new "partner" (i.e. go everywhere with her like dad used to) made it hard because I was saying no not only to a widow but to my mom. I honor her, I just don't spend every minute with her nor do I sacrifice my marriage for her.
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Like Crowe said boundaries. It is a good thing to look after ones loved ones but not to the point of making yourself ill, destroying other relationships and wearing yourself to a frazzle. The has to be a line some where, and not so close that you are practically bleeding by the time you see it.
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Emerald4Me,

Thank you for sharing and going into more detail. There are some places on line which go into this as well as dealing with the thorny question of how does an abused child honor the parent who abused them?

Your husband was very patient and I'm glad others pointed to some good questions. Sounds like your mother was using her grief as a manipulative tool to light the fire of Fear, Obligation and Guilt inside or you. I'm glad that you are no longer in the FOG. You almost let your mother make you into an emotional substitute for her departed husband. That's emotionally not doable.

What I fear too many adult children do not grasp emotionally is that we are no longer a child which the Greek of the NT has a specific word for "teknon' I've seen the verse about children obey your parents used on adult children in attempt to hook them in along with the verses about let those widows who have family look after them so that the church might take care of those who are widows without any family twisted to mean you must keep me home or keep me in your home when sometimes that is just not workable for many reasons.

As I've written many times, I wish all married people and people not yet married would read Boundaries in Marriage which is written by Christians and has a great chapter on elderly parents. I almost always remember one story from that book because it has been so rare for me to see it strikes me as ironically humorous, i.e. the story of the wife who was a daddy's girl to the extent it was hurting her marriage.
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Not sure where the animosity came in. Sometimes the things we say and think are clear to us will be taken in a totally different way by others. We have all had similar AND dissimilar experiences, it is nice (and not so nice at times) when they connect, if not then it just is something the other doesn't know. it isn't wrong just not there. I think I see Mia's point and am grateful for her condolences, I would have loved a close relationship with my mother. I still long for it, desperately, pathetically but it is not there, I have a feeling it will never be there and I will always have a longing for the loving mother that accepted me unconditionally, as she has her son. but I can't make that happen. I think she cares for me in her way and that is all. It is a deep jarring pain that leaves a hole in me. If you don't know it, I am glad for you, I wouldn't wish it on anyone. I think it is OK for anyone to post, we don't all stay on topic and we argue a bit but there is room. We are all here dealing with something related to aging, dying or past on loved ones, stress, love, pain, anger, annoyance, disgust...It is all part of it.
technically I don't belong here either, I am the granddaughter caring for a perverted annoying grandfather with little help. Not putting a marriage in jeopardy, just part of on going family pain. but I understand the topic. Women having to chose between carrying for an elderly parent and a marriage. Well to a degree I guess, no experience there marriage-wise.

The internet is an odd thing, like being on TV. I think it encourages some kinds of intimacy and not others. We don't see each other and yet we say truly intimate and private things about our lives. We talk to others in way I imagine some of us never do in mixed society or even with family and friends. I saw a poster once who's tag line was "Let's argue about it on the internet..." And so, I guess we do...

Whether we have lost some one loved or are just dealing with caring for someone we don't particularly like, we are all connected by the subject of aging and care giving?
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For me, I almost threw my marriage and my wonderful, loving husband away because I had a warped understanding of what "Honor thy father and they mother" meant. I thought that when she became a widow saying no to any of her demands was unthinkable. That year after year, she was still grieving and that when she demanded all of my time, that was the least I should do for her. After my husband's big talk with me (after 5+ years of this - he is a patient man) I looked into what that commandment meant. She needed her basic needs met, she needed to hear love from me, but she did not need all of my time. When someone pointed out that my husband and or kids (God forbid) could also die any day now, and how much time would I have spent with them? that also was a wake up call. This coupled with me telling my mom over and over again to call the siblings has helped tremendously!
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