I know that I shouldn't have looked but I did.
It started at dinner when my mother asked me if I had called my brother (whom I hate) and invited him to Christmas. It bothered me because she so obviously favors him and wants to do everything for him. The thing is, she never asked if I invited my youngest. No, it is all about the one brother.
I often wonder what Mom thinks when she watches us and if she realizes how different my children's childhoods are from mine. I make sure to tell them that I love them every single day and most times, several times a day. I tell them that I think they are smart and beautiful and that I will absolutely die if I don't get at least one hug and smuggle from each of them - OK, the 14 year old boy is getting a little hard to pin down, but I try.
I think I have only heard my mother tell me that she loved me once and I think she even only said that by accident. No hugs and snuggles that I can remember and she spent most of my life making me feel ugly and unintelligent.
I often wonder if she notices and comprehends the difference..
I am right where you are, stuckcaring for the one, the very perpetrator who fractured my husband's family in the first place, and so wish we could tuck him away, and visit occasionally. But like you, he would not socialize, and would sit in a chair and watch TV all day, just as he does in my own home. Still not sure why it would bother me so much, but I'm getting there, and researching all our options!
Someday soon, he's going away, and we Will get our life back! 13 years is too long, and we cannot go on like this much longer!
Good luck to you, I hope you find your way out soon!
In our case, my husband's FTHR's will has been an open book, changed multiple times since he's come to live with us, the ole control Narc thing, and now as it the only Carrot he has to try to hold over my husband's head. He has left the majority of his monies to my husband, public knowledge, and he seems to be under the impression that a couple hundred thousand dollars is oh so much, and Yes, it would have been a nice payoff, but it will never come to be, and that is All going to go towards his living expenses elsewhere. The Carrot, is no longer enough, now that he has revealed his true self, and I (his DIL) have slowly put together all pieces, as to why this family is so messed up in the first place. That money will be gone in no time!
While my husband's Mom was still alive, she managed to cover it up all those years before, but now, it has become quite clear, just who caused all of this mayhem in the first place!
Showtiming exists, and he was fairly good at it, for a while, and even now, continues to do so in front of his Dr. Now, I no longer allow it, and I call him on it! He has destroyed even the respect that I once had for him.
The hurt and pain that man has caused, makes me oh so glad that I was so Lucky to have come from such a loving family!!! And it is Luck, Luck of the draw, as we certainly don't choose where we come from!
I often wonder what goes through his mind, as he watches the wonderful family relationships that I have with my own family. I'm sure that it never dawns on him that HE was the one who caused all of the destruction!
With every dawning day, I am planning his exit from our home. How Sad is that?
Despite the issues I have had with my mother from childhood through now, I have this feeling of obligation o try to keep her home as long as possible. Sometimes, I don't know why I keep doing this since she does not seem to appreciate it. But, I know she would be miserable in any type of facility. She hates "old people" so would not socialize at all. She hates any type of organized activities so she would not participate in any of the entertainment. She would just sit in her bed all day. I know this from the few 30 day stints she previously did in rehab.
And then there is me. I would feel obligated to visit often and I found that visiting her in rehab was more disruptive to our family routine than having her in the house is.
I am strongly considering having more caregivers come in. I currently have two wonderful women who come in during the week while I am at work. But, since we have no weekend coverage, we can no longer do things as a family since someone has to be home with her. We used to travel... a lot, on weekends and I feel that she is robbing my children of that.
Since you recognize that anything you spend will come out of their inheritance, have you considered moving her to a home where her money will be used to take care of her until it runs out, and then she can go on Medicare? I am sure you recognize that she is not capable of being the sweet old lady you deserve in your life, and that you are under stress. Visiting her elsewhere would be an improvement, and she did save up all that money for her retirement years. It seems like a good investment in both your and her happiness to put it towards an assisted living or memory care unit.
I am taking care of my mother, to the best of my ability because it is the right thing to do but I am no longer doing it for her gratitude or love.
Black Hole, you are right. Better to know going into this what the will says rather than being blindsided after she is gone. I will continue to provide adequate care but, knowing where I stand, I am not going to sacrifice my life and my family's life, bending over backwards to try to make her happy. She wants to be entertained, she can call one of her favorites for that.
I say face reality. The loving mama that has never been there is not going to magically appear in the will and show how much the daughter was appreciated. I think it's time to get a therapist that works with dysfunctional families and secrets and mourn that loving mama that never existed.
Use your preview as an advantage. Rehearse being calm and detached during "the big reveal." Think of 1,000 ways not to take your sibs' bait.
There will be enough other surprises after mom passes. Hey, the will won't be one of them! That's a good thing.
I hope this will be a comforting thing to consider. I think, taking into account how I increasingly feel towards my adult children, that there is a further important point when trying to understand your mother's attitude. What she is trying to do for each of you is also a reflection of how much she worries about each of you. The brother who's taken care of, she's unconcerned. You, so together and capable and dependable, she's not worried about. It's the hopeless cases, the ones she possibly still feels guilty about - don't we feel responsible for our children's failings? - they're the ones she's anxious to "put right."
You could drily note that she doesn't seem to learn that money won't do it. But that's another issue.
The key thing is that this is not a measure of how much she loves you. It's more kind of a back-handed compliment, in its way. I know - gee. Thanks mother. But that would be my guess, anyway, for what it's worth.
I see no reason for you to put up with difficult behavior on your elder's part knowing you receive no benefit from your efforts. It's one thing to love your mother from a distance by visiting her in a home frequently. It's another to sacrifice your mental health and physical stamina by tending her 24/7. If there are multiple houses, it's time to put them on the market to pay for her senior housing. If that means one of the golden boys loses his house, that's sad, but that house is for her retirement years, not his.
Your mama put on her big girl depends to write that will, so you can put on your big girl panties and relieve yourself of the constant worry about Mama. You are strong, capable, but not a sucker. Move her.
This coming Sunday, we will celebrate Christmas for our side of the family. All brothers have been invited. All of us live in Maryland, although I am on the Eastern Shore and they are on the Western Shore.
The two favorites are living in the house that Mom has willed to one of them but they have no car since the one that Mom gave to favorite son has died.
Who wants to bet that a) they don't show due to transportation problems and b) the one uses this to try to guilt Mom into buying him another car.
Funny, he usually takes to facebook to beg for rides but nothing about this weekend. He has managed to find people to drive him to Boston twice to see friend and then to her memorial, to the Pennsic wars in PA and numerous times to his doctor 30 miles away because he won't change doctors to one near where he lives.
Sorry, there I go highjacking a thread again. I guess this topic is uppermost on my mind these days with family get-togethers etc.
Once out relationships had deteriorated beyond repair, we refused to spend holidays together. She then cried "I feel like I am from a broken home". Well, ye shall reap what ye shall sow.
It was son bad that for decades, I refused to let her tell my brothers where I lived or share my phone number. When I took Mom in, I promised that I would not keep them from her. I made it clear that they can visit her whenever they want. She has her own apartment that can be closed off from the main house for privacy. Of course, one has only come once and the other one never but no one can say it was my fault.
Now, I pity them, and the miserable lives they have made for themselves. I do still resent them for completely dumping their Father on their youngest brother (my husband), with no assistance, calls, visitation, or even acknowledging him in any way, as he Is declining and getting on in years, now 87. There were times in the distant past before their Mom died, that their relationship with their parents were so self serving and manipulative, treating them so poorly, using them and conning them out of large sums of money.
But I don't blame them for distancing themselves from their parents, if it was in fact an act of self preservation, or setting boundaries. Still it doesn't make sense to me, as their actions now seem to me as a form of revenge or something of that nature.
However, it is still very difficult to be the ones who have to take care of the very one who caused all of this dysfunction in the first place.
My husband has certainly had his share of relationship issues, and now is becoming so resentful, dealing with the "perpetrator", especially as he declines into age related frailty and Dementia, and becomes more reliant on him.
In a perfect world, we would simply move him from our home into an Assisted Living place, but his level of needs and care, fall right in the middle the inability to care for himself, and needing to be in a Nursing Home, and unfortunately, you can't just admit him into a Nursing home yourself, you need a Dr's order, and until he has an injury or illness that requires hospitalization, that won't happen, but when it does, we will refuse to bring him back into our home.
It's only a matter of time that he will injure himself, as he does fall frequently, despite using a Rolator walker, and one of these days, he will break a bone, become ill, or his Lymphoma Cancer will return, and he will then have to go into in patient Hospice, as my husband will be unable to manage his care any longer, and I personally will not participate in that level of such intimate care, that I did do, with my Mom, who had home based Hospice, dying from Cancer. It's such a catch 22, and I have come to resent that our life has been put on hold, caring for this man for 13+ years now, and obviously it is beginning to affect every aspect of our lives. Its only a matter of time before something or someone breaks, or something happens. I am praying that it isn't my marriage that becomes that something!
I can't recall how old your Mom is, but it could also be a generation thing, too.... the sons always get help from the parents because they have families to raise, and the daughter is ignored because she has a husband to take care of her.
Yet majority of the time it is the daughter who is called in to do the heavy lifting of full-time caregiving.... because of her gender.
Yes, part of this stems from Mom trying to buy love. Some comes from her belief that she needs to take care of the weaker ones. My gripe with that is that I got up every day and worked my butt off to achieve what I have achieved. I worked my full time career and then moonlighted at night. I worked overtime. I went without. IU should knot be punished for my success and they should not be rewarded fro there laziness.
My mother does fit some of the points describing Narcissistic Behavior but not all of them. I think one big difference is that O think she actually has low self esteem. I think that is why she has always needed to be co dependent.
It must have been about 25 years ago when the middle brother and I actually saw a therapist together to cope with my mother's favoritism and co dependency. The therapist pointed out to us that my mother had only one identity... that of a mother/caregiver and when that looked like it was ending, she made people in her life helpless and dependent on her. I think that is part of why we have never gotten along. I didn't need her. I left when I was 17 to go to college and never came back, even for school breaks.
She enabled my brother's addiction, my father's alcoholism, my other brother's laziness. She needed them to need her.
But understanding her does not make me less bitter about how she treats all of us..
The more I learn about Narcissism, the more i begin to despise him, and want him out of my home, but as he becomes more and more frail, the more difficult it becomes. Age and decline hasn't changed his behavior any, which makes it all the worse! I just don't know why we have to be the ones who have to put up with it though, what did we do to deserve this? That is the question!
My husband's siblings have taken advantage of their parents for as long as I've been married to him, now 31 years. My SIL even went so far (now 16 years ago, as my MIL passes 13 years ago) as to take out 5 different Credit Cards in my MIL's name, and charging them up to over 68 thousand dollars, and still, my MIL put it all down to her Alcoholism and abuse, and would not press charges against her, and ended up even paying those charges off, with no punishment or even an "I'm sorry" recieved from her own Daughter! That is only part of the many thousands I witnessed the daughter receive from her parents over the years, and never did she ever spend not one day caring for her parents either! They continued to cover up her bad behavior for as long as their Mom was alive.
I heard and witnessed many stories of my BIL screwing his parents out of many thousands too, even to the point of him "gifting" his own Mom her first car when she first learned how to drive in her late 30's, a red 65' Mustang, and after investing a couple of thousand dollars into it, engine work, new tires, a paint job, my inlaws went to register the car in Washington, only to find out, that the car had been "driven" off the car lot in California (we live in Washington state), and was reported as Stolen, and they then had to pay for the car "in full", several more thousands, or their Son would have faced prosecution for Grand Theft, so they paid it off, and she drove that car for another 20 years!
That was back in 70's, before the real computer age took off. He probably wouldn't have "gotten away" with that in this day and age! He once sold his folks a stolen freezer for their garage, and they immediately went out and bought a locker package, 1/2 a cow, and a few days later, the sheriff was at the door, looking for the stolen goods, so back went the freezer to the owners, so they had to immediately go out and buy a new one! And that's only a smidgen of the horrible Conning, he did to his parents and so many other people.
Many times they co-signed for cars for these two, only to get stuck paying off the loans, and they still went on to "lend them money", over the years, never to be paid back.
Over the years, I've witnessed a lot of what I initially assumed was favoritism, but now, it has become more apparent that it was just their "misguided" way of covering up for their own lack of good parenting and guilt from not actually instilling proper values in their kids from the get go! There was never any fairness or consistency in my husband's family growing up. My husband was the youngest, and left the house at 17, to escape the madness, his own survival instincts kicking in. The shinnanigans his older siblings displayed as children, left his parents treating him with a lack of trust, that he didn't earn or deserve, hence his leaving home at his first opportunity, to go to live at his girlfriends home, where the parents there were instrumental in him learning responsibility and vital life skills, thank goodness for them! Not necessarily an acceptable option in most cases, but turned out to be a very good thing for my husband in this situation, especially back in the early 70's.
Interesting enough, their only & eldest daughter got pregnant in HS, and married (later divorced), eldest Son joined the Navy, but flunked out of Boot Camp, and the youngest (my husband) left at 17, and never took advantage of them, and we ended up the only ones being there in his parents lives all these years, and have had his Dad living with us since his wife passed away, and he's now nearly 87, with ZERO help from the siblings!
No, I don't think you need to beat yourself up over a little peek at her Will, long standing family dynamics and dysfunction are very difficult issues to overcome, especially when you are the one Solely doing all the caregiving, and fairness doesn't even begin to come into play!
You might find a way to casually bring up her Will in a conversation, and see how she replies. You may be able to ask her and show her, he actions are not only unfair to you, but also to your brother whom she assumes will be compensated at some point, by his inlaws!
Now that you know what you're dealing with, you can decide what (if anything) you want to do about it. Knowledge is power. I might consider demanding a salary for all that butt-wiping, or insisting that paid help be brought in to do it, if something like that would make you feel less taken for granted. I wish you luck.