Why does my mother bring out the worst in me???

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I care for my mother - she does not have dementia, but seems to have every other ailment under the sun. Diabetic for over 40 years, rheumatoid arthritis, congestive heart failure, thyroid & gallbladder removed when she was young, atrial fibrillation (now reliant upon a pacemaker), osteoporosis, diabetic foot ulcers, rectal cancer in 2005 which has left her incontinent, etc. etc. - the poor woman was dealt a really sh*tty hand in the health department, that's for sure. She broke her right hip earlier this year, and had that replaced in september. She was gone for 3 months at a SNF for rehab, and I felt like it was the first time I could breathe in a long time.

Now that she is back home (she lives in my home), I immediately noted how different I feel. I am chewing my fingers again, my temper is short, I'm anxious, I feel like I am a snarky smart-assed 15 year old whenever I respond to her...and I'm going to be 50 in July! To put it bluntly, I DO NOT LIKE the person that I become when I am around my mother, but I feel like I am powerless to stop it!

Obviously she is frail and she needs my help - am I resentful of that?? Am I trying to push her away, or prepare myself for what I know is to come down the road??? I just don't get it. She has never been the most positive person - always complaining about something & making comments about people's appearances that aren't exactly complimentary, but she's always been that way - it's not like it's news to me.

I know she can't help (to some extent) the position she is in, but there are days where I feel she COULD help me out a bit more than she does. Sorry for being graphic, but when she gets poop on the inside of her clothes because she didn't make it to the bathroom on time & the diaper leaked....she can certainly rinse them out or at the very least say something instead of just rolling the clothes up, poop and all, into a ball & leaving them in her room until she has a full washer load, can't she??? I have stuck my hand into god-knows-what more often than I care to admit, and I get SO PISSED OFF. To me, there is no excuse for that behavior, whether she's embarrassed by it or not. As a result, I have ruined a few of her articles of clothing by soaking them into a bucket with bleach water, but what does she expect me to do??? Just put her crap-filled clothes into my washing machine????? She then turns around & yells at me for ruining her clothes. UGH!!!

Instead of enjoying time with her, I feel like all I do is bitch & moan about every little thing she does to everyone. My huband & my oldest daughter are around her enough to sympathize with me for what I put up with, but everyone else looks at me like I'm a raging bi*ch for talking about my mother like that. I guess I need to be more cautious of who I vent to (THANK GOD FOR THIS BOARD!) but seriously...she brings out the worst in me and I just don't know how to handle it. (((vent over...whew!)))

Answers 1 to 10 of 31
purplesushi, it sounds like you are at your wit's end. I know your mother can't afford assisted living, but do you think she would qualify for placement in a nursing facility if her Medi-Cal comes through? I am sure that she feels your anger, so it is probably not the best situation for either of you. There are options out there. I hope you can find one that is more workable for you and your mother.
I know how you feel. I feel so guilty sometimes about how I am with her. I am trying not to treat her like a child but that what she says she feels like. I am always waiting for the other shoe to drop and walking on egg shells but then it really has always been this way with her . I finally called her primay care doctor and he ordered a PT, OT and a medical social worker. Hopefully, it will get better, Now we are enjoying exercising together. I hope you will have a great new year. Take care of yourself okay. Take a bubble bath they help me a lot.
We do have a PT & home nurse come about 3 times a week (the PT due to her hip, and the home nurse due to the ulcer on her toe that hasn't healed in over a year), but they don't really give me a break of any kind as I feel like I need to be here when they are here because my mom doesn't hear well so I need to be there to make sure she's hearing what they're saying. The podiatrist keeps talking about removing the ulcerated toe, but my mom is fighting him on it...I guess she's waiting until her entire foot is involved before she takes him seriously.

Mom finally "qualified" for Medi-Cal, but because she makes 100/month "too much", her share of cost is over $650/month. Absolutely ridiculous. We have changed her insurance over from Medicare HMO to a Medigap plan instead (the premiums are higher so it reduces her income). As for IHSS she was in the SNF for 3 months, and so they denied her that because they said she didn't "need" the in home support, so now that she is home we get to start that process over again. I swear, it's one thing right after another - it's enough to make a person want to scream.

I think if I weren't going through perimenopause while all of the above is going on I'd probably be able to handle it a little better, but boy these mood swings and hot flashes are killers!!! My husband is really a saint for putting up with me lately, I'll tell you that! haha!
I might be wrong, but I wonder if your mother isn't pressing your buttons so to speak which means needing some emotional detachment with love. Glad to hear your husband is a saint, but I hope you can find some ways for you two to have some time together.
Oh she does push buttons - definitely. For instance, she waits until we're out of sight to do stuff she shouldn't be doing, like bending over while sitting in her wheelchair to pick up something off the floor - something she was told specifically not to do so she doesn't dislocate her new hip again (forgot to mention she's already dislocated it once by ignoring her precautions). She has a grabber thingy, so she has no excuse. Some days I just ignore those types of things and others I say something. If I say too much, I'm treating her like a baby...if I don't say anything at all, I don't care. I can never be right no matter what I do. Today, for instance, is a "patient day" for me - she hasn't gotten on my last nerve and we actually had a pretty nice conversation about the family, etc. I wish more days were like that. Don't get me wrong - I'm probably not the easiest person to live with either and she probably has a list of gripes about me as well - I guess it's that whole mother-daughter dynamic ("2 cooks in the kitchen") that is the biggest hurdle to overcome. She is living in my home, and not the other way around...but she still feels as if she's the one that calls the shots in how this house is run. Maybe it's more of a control issue than anything? I don't know. What I do know is that either I'm going to have to learn how to be a lot more patient with her (easier said than done), or she's going to have to learn that she is no longer the "queen of the castle" so to speak, and let me have control of my home (that I have had for 30 years now) and to keep silent on the criticism when things aren't done the way she would do them if it were her house. Boy this is not easy...not at all.
PurpleSushi- same issues here. MIL definately sees herself as queen of the castle. She is constantly complaining about things not done her way. Tonight was an incident where she claims to know our teen son better than we do. This is laughable, as he stays as far away from her as possible. I don't know of any way to dethrone the queen. We are starting to pursue assisted living options. It seems like the only way.
MyWitsEnd - I know it is hard but I know that my mother just feels that she is losing her independence and she wants to do things the way she likes them done. My mother has a problem with the way I clean her house so she doesn't let me do it. She wants to do it but she cannot anymore. It took me two weeks to clean her bathroom because she wanted to do it herself and believe me it needed it due to the fact that she has incontinence and recently had diarhea. I finally gave her a little task to do in the bath and was able to clean it with her help. They just want the old days back when they could do for themselves. Take care and have a great new year.
Lavenar23- I can definately appreciate that, but this is a life long behavior of being extremely controlling and just plain mean. This is very hard to take when she is living in our house and trying to control everything. We have teens in our home, and she is not in control of parenting. No amount of telling her this helps. We are all hiding in our own home. That just can't go on.
Deep down I think we all "know" why our parents/inlaws/whatever act the way they do - it has to be hard to accept the fact that you really aren't in control of your life anymore and need help...their body has turned against them and they can no longer care for themselves completely. I am sympathetic to that, and that part of the equation has never been the issue. The issue is that suddenly there is a person who is living in my home that doesn't make the effort (in my opinion) to adjust to OUR household and our routines. She wants things done the way she has always had them done in HER household, and fails to realize those were a lot of the reasons I married and moved out over 30 years ago. Since she has been here, I find I have regressed emotionally to the teen I was when I left her home, and I don't like it one bit. I don't feel that my entire household should have to bend to her will when it would be so much easier if SHE could bend just a little to ours, or at least make that effort. I feel as though my life has been placed on hold so she can have a full-time housekeeper, cook, chauffeur, laundry service, and errand-runner. I spent years at home raising my children (who are all grown and married now), and I NEED to be out in the working world preparing for my own retirement. I guess deep down I am resentful of the fact that seemingly overnight my life's plan changed in a direction I didn't see it going, and I'm not happy with it and I'm not dealing with it as well as some on here are. Obviously she is my mother and I'm not going to throw her out on the street - she is sick and frail and needs me....but I don't have to be happy about that either. Where do I go from here? I don't know. My husband told me I should just keep submitting resumes, get a part-time job to where I have a day or two a week reserved for my mom's doctor appointments and what-not, and go from there. He doesn't go to work until 1 pm, so he will just have to deal with her in the mornings until he leaves for work. That just might be the direction I have to go for my sanity's sake.
MyWitsEnd - I guess I was just trying to make myself feel better. My mother is a controlling person too. Now she is having to accept that I am in the drivers seat. Today, she "allowed" me to go have coffee with a friend of mine. When I got home she asked me why I was gone so long. I had a flat tire on the way home and had to get a new tire. Oh well, she says one thing and then changes her mind right away. ALL THE TIME!!!!!!! Take care there and I will do the same. Purple sushi - When I was working full time I spent my only weekday off taking my mom to the doctor. I hated it but did it for her and resented it at the same time. I feel the same now that I am not working. When I try to take care of myself I pay for it later. Please take time out for you. I do as much as I can.

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