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She has dominated her childrens' lives with little concern for anyones' feeling but her own. She is now in a wonderful assisted living and her dementia (I think) has illuminated her personality into a person who I can no longer bear to be around. She has again managed to alienate everyone around her with her insults and insensitivity. She is nasty and uncooperative with the aids (who are wonderful) And complains, complains, complains about everyone, everything and blames my sister and myself for the air she breathes. I am sick of her and I don't want to visit her anymore and don't feel that my adult children need to be manipulated like I was and be around her negative attitude anymore. I hate feeling obligated to have her at my house as I have every holiday of our lives and force my children to "tolerate" her for my sake. The guilt is unbearable but I feel that now being 60 years old I would like to feel that this person does not dominate my whole life. I would like to have a happy holiday for a change and have my children WANT to come home (without Grandma always there)
There has never been any pleasing her before and now she sends me into bouts of depression that I have a hard time shaking. Am I alone? I feel like a selfish person but I don't like her now and never did before. The guilt is killing me.

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When parents get to this age they are needy, both emotionally and physically, so it is difficult to know where to draw boundaries. When there is diminished mental capacity, it becomes even more stressful. Our sense of humanity dictates that we care for someone in need. When you have a
challenging parent, those tasks take on extra weight.
I continually struggle to figure out how much of my life, my desires, and my energy should be given up to care for my parent. Right now, I am in danger of literally hitting the wall. My Mom has received wonderful care from my husband and me, so now she has come to expect it. I wonder if she had gone directly into an ALF if it would have been better in terms of her settling in and getting used to her new environment.
You are correct when you say, "the guilt is killing me." It will continue to gnaw on you until it manifests itself in an illness or mental breakdown.
You have made sure that your Mom is safe and well cared for. There is nothing wrong with limiting your time with her (it isn't quality time anyway). Try to divorce yourself as a relative and visit her to make sure that her basic needs are being met. Have a holiday at your home and perhaps take an hour to visit your Mom at the ALF and bring her a few gifts. She will probably continue to complain...but at least you will know that you did the right thing - because at the end of the day, and end of her life you will NEVER change her.
Celebrate with your kiddos and their kiddos. Honor grandma by making short visits to the ALF whenever you can, and be happy that you did not inherit her grim view on life...must be awful to live in her world.
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Lilli put it in a way you can live with. What is there to feel guilty about? Is that feeling just a "habit" of being her daughter, that is just another way she controls you sweetie, with guilt.
My dad was like that. You described him to a tee. When I would go to visit and he would get stupid, I would just walk out. No sense in arguing or trying to make it all better.
I was not responsible for his misery and therefore could not fix it. You didn't make your mom this way, it is all about HER life choices. I am so sorry that she hurts you , but maybe you need to not keep voulunteering to be her victim. I finally realized with my dad, that out of some misplaced sense of obligation, I was voluntering to be hurt.
When I finally realized how crazy that was, I stopped.
Lilli said enjoy your own family and that is a great suggestion. Believe it or not I do not owe mean and ugly people anything, even if it is a parent.
You will be in my prayers and thoughts.. Keep coming back to this sight. You will get alot of support here. You are not alone
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I have been combing the web for answers to a similar challenge, and I am comforted to read this thread and know that I am not alone. I am taking care of my very miserable 82 year old father who is ungrateful, crabby, vengeful and rageful. I would have thought I was doing something wrong if I hadn't witnessed his same behavior for the last 40 years of my life, with my mother, his sister, and every single other caregiver and family member that has ever tried to take care of him. Everyone has left him and now I am the only one left that has an ounce of concern for him but sometimes that even disappears as well. You also described my father to a tee when describing your mother. The guilt is killing me too, but so is putting up with his behavior. I wish I knew of a solution. I feel stuck.
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My Father had bi-polar disorder and when he was in a manic phase he was very difficult to live with. It was suggested by my Father's Psychiatrist that when Dad became belligerent to leave the room, not to engage him at all in the behavior but just walk out. Same for phone calls, if he started on the tirade just say “have to go now / someone’s at the door-bye” and hang up. It is harder if the person lives in the same house; however the same rules apply, leave the room or go for a walk, do not engage or argue as there is no point in argueing with them. You can only control your reaction to their behavior, and if the behavior is not reinforced by getting the desired reaction it MIGHT change.
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I too feel that this story is similar. My mother was an alcoholic most of my childhood and up until abotu 15 years ago. Recently, she was diagnosed with dimentia and she has always suffered from Depression and Anxiety. Right now she is refusing to eat or drink unless I sit at the ALF with her... then miraculously everything is fine and she can eat and drink. I have started to leave her alone and only give her attention when she is trying to live... but she says she wants to die. My gut tells me that this is attention-getting behaviour, but she is only 90#... so indeed she could die if she refuses food and water for too much longer. At what point has she out-lived the "assisted living facility?"
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I'm going through something very similiar to you, I'm 52, an only child, with children of my own, my heart goes out to you. It's time to set your own "new" traditions.
If you feel you must have her over for a holiday meal then do it a few days before or after. Tell her that from now on you want to celebrate the holidays, quietly, so you can enjoy them.
Or simply tell her that you are going away this year.
If your mom is so controling, at some point she stood up to her elder relatives and said,"I want to do things my way," and you must do the same to keep your sanity.
If you can not go to see her often, call her(it's easier to end the conversation) and send her cards, pictures of the kids, or gifts to let her know she is in your thoughts.
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She has had her way enough. Life changes and if she cannot change to get along they will drug her into submission. If she is as hateful as you say then you should feel guilty for ruining your families holiday with her there... instead of feeling guilty about your mother.
IF she KNOWS she is at the mercy of the aids and nurses she will either treat them better or face the consequences.

You are 60, you are done with her so just STOP. Visit her once a week, if she gets obnoxious tell her you are leaving and why and when you will visit again.

She was an adult when she treated you the way she did and you already have done much more than she deserves.

that being said I have spent the last 3 years of my life helping, advocating, running after my dad trying to keep him from being drugged into oblivion by the nursing home and it is ruining my life. I want to stop but can't. My dad was never mean to me but he left us kids to chase other women, yet now here I am stuck with him. It really, really sucks.
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I hear you loud & clear!!!! It sounds like we have the same mother! (you would NEVER call her "Mom"!
Let me tell you a couple of things that would have helped us a
LONG time ago. . . first, I am now convinced that she (our mother) has been mentally ill all her life! We can't go back and change anything, but it helps us not be angry & bitter! Just incredibly sad that someone couldn't help her long ago! Such a wasted miserable life--well, lives!(all those around her suffered!) In getting her to move in with us (the original plan was assisted living, but she changed her mind), I told her Dr.s I know they're giving her something everytime she's hospitalized or they wouldn't be able to deal with her either! Finally, someone confessed, they had previously denied giving her anything but her heart & bp meds. Turns out, it's an antianxiety/antipsychotic type med. WHAT A WORLD of difference !!!! So sad she didn't have these all her life. She could have had friends! We all now live together in relative peace-just battling the dementia! God Bless! I pray you can work something out & get to know there's not such a horrible person living in that women you call your mother!
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Abilify in a low dosage helped my dads combative behavior a lot.

If your mom is a psychopathic type person with zero empathy for others I don't think anything will fix that.
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This is my father! He just had his 84th birthday. No one called him. I did send him an email and told him I loved him. I am the only one left who communicates of 4 kids. It kills my mother but I can't stand it any more! He is still very capable of caring for himself. Is it possible he just wants to be alone? Should we encourage this or would it be a bad thing. He has always been anti social. I am not sure if this is the beginning of dementia or not?
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If you hadn't started this discussion, I was going to. Thank you for the sharing and honesty. My mamma has been the bane of my existence and my two brothers also all of our known days. As we look back we know it was an undiagnosed mental or personality dysfunction, but regardless of why she was the way she was, the fact remains we were abused by her psychotic self indulgent narcisistic self centered "diva" attitude all of our lives. Now that she is 93 and going on an on and on and on...I am her 24/7 on call life style manager and gofer. There is no way that I can avoid resentment and anger of one more moment of my life and time that she takes. It's like a vampire sucking my little lifes joy out of me and I have to find creative ways to stay sane and functioning. I have had to give up more of my dreams and time than there is enough paper to list. I have had to forgive the unforgivable and let go of what seems impossible.. The therapy hours ....years...that have been spent on this topic would frighten any medical biller. I am now 63 and have been on this merry go round with no ring since 2004 full time and prior to that was on call for all of her fickle neurotic moments. Have been taking care of her and protecting the family from her all of my life...as far back as I can remember. She has been my first child and it is clear she will be my last...if I don't die before she does.

Like an Egyptian Pharoh she is bent on taking hostages down with her. She will die with her slaves...I am the slave to which she owes her life to. My struggle is not with guilt or shame, it is with resentment and anger at a society that will not and can not support me in my struggle. Because of my ethics and because of how I have kept my self respect, I refuse to "leave her to the dogs"as they say. She is mentally and emotionally ill. If she were blind ....or crippled or had cancer society would consider my support of her heroic, but because she is a bitch and a nasty person over all...my helping her is considerd dumb and irrational and a waste of time. Are we only to help those that we like? Isn't it even more valuable to buffer these nasty people and care for them regardless of how nasty they are? I do not have an answer, I only pose the question.

As a caregiver, I have not found it anywhere written, that we are to care only for those we like or love. To care for a loveless person is an act of ultimate love. For was it not MOTHER THERESA ...who was a revolutionary...not a martyr...was it not she that said. "I see my Lord in all of his distressing disguises"? I see my mamma in those eyes and therefore continue to care for her, even if I don't care about her. Thank you for this platform...it does help...and I look forward to any and all feedback.
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I'm going through a similiar situation. I just don't want to be around my Mother any more. It is SO upsetting. I feel guilty that she has very few friends, and depends on me for many things. I'm to the point where I feel like I just have to take care of me and stay away from her. It is sad, but true.
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I'm reading some of the comments and it seems we are all standing in the same shoes. My mother lives with us for 20 years...My daughter is grown,out of the house, graduated college and works. My mother wants to move into independent living.....so we found a facility 15 minutes away from us. She didn't want to live in "this big barn of a house with no one around". I was working at the time and she didn't like that either. She lives in a nice one-bedroom apt. The food is terrible, the people are depressed like she is. I took her yesterday for the beauty palor and quite frankly, I think I'd showing up too much. My husband spoke to her on the phone yesterday. She only wants to come back to the house and she makes me feel terrible. She says "I won't complaint....please let me come back home". I too am so upset about this situation and feel so guilty. I am returning to work in the Fall, and quite frankly, all of us living together I finally see its not healthy and I'm really trying to not feed this co-dependent relationship. Any suggestions??
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Hi Gordy,

My two cents, and they come from many many years of dealing with aging personalities...my two cents are to let her stay where she is....and change the formula of your visits. Bring her some projects to work on....collage pictures, journal on tapes, ask her to document her life...Distract her ego from putting a guilt trip on you to validating herself and her life.

Since you are feeling guilt...and that is unhealthy for you.....there is a piece of emotional enabling going on. If the food is lousy, when you visit bring her what she likes, if you can get a volunteer to visit her regularly at the home it can make a world of difference. She may even defer to the volunteer to make you feel unwanted..and try to manipulate you with jelousy..Who she was at her worst when she was younger...is who she becomes all the time when angry...and angry gives her power...so why be nice? Very few have done their internal work, very few are wise....very few are interactive...very few. That generation was seduced into believing that the young are here to serve their needs and that sense of entitlement continues till the end.

I believe that children and the frail elderly have a basic survival instinct...that is,they manipulate others and seize power by any and all means necessary. It is the adult in the room that needs to draw healthy boundaries for all involved.

Children need the reminder of limits, as do frail elderly. The power struggle is different with the frail elderly than with children. I believe it is fear of abadonment and fear of being forgotten or rememberd incorrectly and the need to feel powerful again. If they can't feel strong,. they use what ever manipulative tools they have to leave an imprint...for that keeps them visible ....to others and to themselves. Anger gives power...and it is a more energy giving emotion than fear or sadness. None the less...we ...the caretakers have to deal with it...in ourselves and in those we care for...and about.

I suspect that your mothers presence in your home will turn your home into a forum for her issues. They say that if you want to see who has the power in a family...look for the sick person. Be it mental or physical...the sick tend to manipulate others....it is the way it is. Because of that....I sought therapy to learn tools and develop better responses not emotional reactions. to the manipulative and predictable power games played on the platform of senior care.

It is a real challenge because of all the unresolved childhood issues that pop up..and all the unresolved drama presents itself at the worst times...I chose to turn this most difficult time in the trenches of senior care into a learning opportunity...and a chance to learn genuine forgiveness...the new frontier. I wish you luck and hope. Courage and fortitude...Love and kindness of purpose,,,,for to quote one of my favorite songs..."In the end..only kindness matters" Be kind to yourself most of all.
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TreadingWater, your mother sounds like a person who has a narcissistic personality disorder with which she has dominated you for way, way too long, plus inflicted pain upon you and your children. While you don't mention how your husband is doing, I don't see how he put up with it unless like myself felt somewhat powerless until through therapy found the strength to set some boundaries which meant no more visits in our home; no more going with us on every vacation; and no more spending every holiday at grandma's for I wanted our children to have some memories of having some holiday's and their birthday's at home.

First, I'd buy and read the book Emotional Blackmail by Susan Forward.

Second, I'd get into some therapy.

Third, remind yourself daily that you did not make your mother this way. You cannot control how your mother is. Nor can you fix how your mother is. All you can really do is pick a healthier path for yourself which you are already doing and stay on it regardless of what your mom does or does not do.
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I am so glad I found this forum. It helps to converse with others going through similar situations. Thanks to all of you!
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So---- I finally heard from my Mom after a week of no communication after our flare up. She actually called me to thank me for having her car towed, fixed, paid for,and delivered to her house. Never mind that it was all my fault that we drove it in the first place, etc, etc, etc. Long story short, I emailed her and told her how her reaction that day (blaming everything on me) when we were already in a stressful situation really hurt my feelings. We both apologized and agreed to put it behind us. As she says --- " a tougue can be the sharpest weapon". So true. Glad we are able to talk about it and move on. Glad to have found the support here with others who go through similiar things. Hang in there all!
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OMG!!! I feel the same way you do, in most aspects. I struggle with guilt and depression constantly! We grew up in an unhappy home because of her. I have forgiven her for that, but she is still difficult at times. She has alot of physical problems and I find it very stressful to move her around. - dr. appts and all. She is in an Assisted Living so I have to take care of all her needs, bill, and dr. appts. With all that and trying to take care of our 4 BR home, have a son in the USMC and a teenager that just got into a little trouble lately, I am really struggling with depression. I just try to find some fun and joy each day, but that black cloud is always there. I have 3 other siblings. One lives 30 mns. away and has not seen her in a year. The other 2 never call her. I have to be EVERYTHING for her. So, I know how you feel. It is awful. I pray and all, but those feelings are still there. It 's almost impossible to escape.!! Plus, she has a cat there I have to take care of all his needs!!! AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH! Can you tell I can relate? I was just venting to my husband this morning , but then I feel bad about that.
I just keep the visits short and sweet with my mother. I am doing what I am doing because I have no choice. I live near her. I constantly ask God to forgive me for the way I feel at times, ask for his help, and I am doing this because it is the right thing to do before Him. I hope this helps! Comment back to me ifyou want. Not sure how to find your comment, but I could give you my email if you get back to me. I am looking for this type of support and "venting options'. I hope I didnt scare you away :) :0
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Thank you Treading water for your post and all that responded, because this is my life. I am sooo glad I found this site....I know I'm not alone.
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I understand your feeling and glad I googled this site. My mother is the same way, nothing is ever good enough for her, what you do for her is never good enough and complains extremely also about everything and anything. She moved in which me after my dad passed away as she is legally blind and cannot do it on her own. It's been 7 yrs. I understand the frustration she must feel with not being able to see and do things like she used to but that is not anyone's fault. It just happened. If her cup falls on the floor, it's my fault on how i put it on the table. the bed pad which is flat that i put in the bed to protect the mattress, if she has a bad night's sleep it's my fault for the way i put the bedpad on. If she forgets to take her hearing aid out, it's my fault cause I asked her if she was ready for bed. If I don't take her shopping right when she wants to, she says I'm cruel. When my oldest daughter was about 5 and we passed her other grandparents house, (she's 39 now), she said that is where your mammy and pappy live, but you like us better. When i got pregnant with my other daughter 12 yrs later (i was young with the first one) she said i shouldn't have another because it is 12 yrs later. when my son was born she forgot about my other children. because she didn't have any boys. my 2nd daughter and son are 20 months apart. she said they were too close to me. how can they be too close to me? because they didn't fall all over her. my middle sister walked out on everyone (she was the main one helping mom/dad out at that time) over 15 yrs ago (she since died), my oldest sister doesn't want to bother, she has things to do and her bible study and ministry to do and then there's me. I don't want to sound selfish either but i am a person not a robot. she feels since she can't do anything no one else can. when dad was still alive and he couldn't shop anymore he'd give me a list and if i said i can go the next day, he'd say fine that 's okay, but mom would say "Oh, I see you can't go for us right away" Guilt guilt and guilt. We always heard "You kids don't care" or the famous 2 liner "I see". Then if I try to talk to her, she'd turn it right around and say it was my fault she could never look at herself. Dad used to tell her stop nagging and complaining. There is no peace sometimes. There's no way to please her no matter how hard I try. She'll talk about my son or daughter to me, then in turn talk to my daughter about my son and vice versa and also about me and then say she never said that. I talked to my aunt, mom's youngest sister and she told me nothing was ever good enough for her way back when and you could never touch her stuff. It's too hot, it's too cold, it's too this, it's too that. Like you who posted, I don't want to bother with her either but she lives with me. Before dad died he said take care of your mother, so here i am. And if she'd go in a nursing home as she was for rehab already and I don't go see her every single day, oh you don't care, she complained about the aides that they didn't come running right when she called. If she calls for me and i can't get there right away, she'll call my name every second and i said sometimes you have to wait, i may be in the middle of something, then i get "well you don't answer" when I did and I tell her I did, she says well i didn't hear you, i said then don't say i don't answer. she'll tell people "i have no clothes, i have no shoes" when in fact the closet and drawers are over full. Other people don't know her and she makes all of us look bad. Why does she do stuff like this, is what I'd like to know. Cause she's so miserable with herself she feels it's everyone else's fault she is miserable, so she blames everyone else. Then if she's on the potty and i'll walk away for a little to give her time to get done and come back and I'll ask are you done, she says "You have to give me time" so when she belts out the orders to me, which can consist of getting things from 5 different places and I say okay but give me time, then I hear oh what's the matter with you. There is no winning, so I do understand what everyone is feeling and so glad that I am not alone in the way I feel.
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givemepeace, are you in counselling? If this has been going on all your life, you may need some professional help to break out of this unhealthy relationship.
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yes jeannegibbs, i have been in counseling, not going now as i cannot afford it, but i keep what has been said to me while in counseling as a check point and i do have a couple of very close friends who are very supportive for me, thank you
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also jeannegibbs, even with all of this support i do have, living with mom is still not an easy task, one day I do know the cycle will break.
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Boy-reading your comment made me feel as if I had written it myself. However, my mother is in an ALF and it is the best thing I ever did.........I REALLY think you could consider this......I knew from many years of emotional abuse that I could not have her live with me. My husband gave me the choice of him or her.....he has known her for years and knew that having her live with us would not work and I would not be able to deal with her on both an emotional and physical level. She has always brought out the worst in me------Since I wrote the question the ALF has had a mental evaluation done on my mother and the doctor has put her on anti-psychotics and anti-depressents which have made a big difference. She is calmer more often but is now having tantrum fits and is nasty to the staff. Of course, she has alienated everyone there. I myself have gotten some counseling and am starting to come to terms with this, although the guilt never goes away..........She had her life and has "chosen" to be miserable but after letting it dominate my life for 60 years it is time for me to let her be what she has chosen to be. I will not sacrifice my home and family to try to make her happy as it is a futile effort on everyone's part. I would hope that you can come to the same conclusion and consider putting your mom in an Assisted Living there are plenty of good ones around if you research carefully. They are more equipped to handle her personality and you might even regain your own life. Be aware that visiting and taking care of needs, finance and personality will still be your responsiblity and the guilt still is there but at least, you can escape it from time to time to keep your own sanity. Please keep me posted...........Good luck
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My mother exactly................very self centered now but if you think back she was always this way...now worse.........and I 67 and wondering how i can go on taking care of her.......... she has filled me with quilt and changing myself is hard enough.
A terrible to live you elderly life taking care of a miserable ungrateful mother
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Care since she will eat when you are there she will eat when she is hungry-I stayed with my mother after she had surgery she pulled a fuss at meal saying me i and my sister were trying to make her fat I told her to take what she wanted from the serving plates so she took very littel but during the night she got up and ate snacks-they will wt her each week and can give her supplements as need-I would not stay while she eats it is her game to play. Spent you have to do what you think is right for you -the sibs are doing what they want-maybe he wants to be alone if he has a tv maybe that is enough for him-you could offer to get books from the library-if it kills your Mom she can speak to the sibs and maybe have each one call one time a month-they might be willing to do that-and if not then I do not know.
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@givemepeace: One word: NARCISSIST Please Google it, read about it, learn about it if you want any peace in your life!!
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.........and you're right, there is NO WINNING
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My mother has been a narcassistic raging witch my entire life. I grew up in a foster home that I voluntarily put myself into as a young teen. I have tried having a relationship with her on and off over the years (I'm 50 now) but getting too close only causes emotional pain as she is hateful and mean. My mother fell about a month ago and broke both wrists and fractured some bones in her face. I spent the first 10 days sleeping in her room every night (5:00 p.m. to 10:00 a.m.) in a chair and then going to work the following day (I work full time). She'd complain constantly about being hot, cold, in pain, the food was terrible, she was trapped in her bed, she drank hot tea (all she'll drink) like crazy and peed 10 times every night. The constant interruptions all night long gave me about two hours of total sleep on any given night. My brother - who works from home, would take his laptop and do the "day shift" and push a button for the nurse whenever she needed anything. Now that she's stabilized, he shows up for 10 or 15 minutes maybe twice a week. Most recently he spent 10 days at the beach leaving me to care for her (his 2nd time to the beach since her accident). He tries to use me has his personal secretary, ordering me to do this and that for her. He's got the financial and medical POA, but I pay her bills, do her laundry, take care of her home - inside and out, schedule her appointments and spend countless hours visiting trying to keep her company so she's not lonely. Mom's in a rehab facility at the moment but they're fixing to pitch her out next week with someone supposedly looking in on her three days a week. She wants to go home with two broken wrists (three weeks after surgery). Doctors orders are she cannot put any weight more than a magazine on those wrists. Heck she can't even cut her food but she is campaigning to go back to her home and tried to sit us all down yesterday to "figure out how she's going to get help" when she gets home. My brother wants to let her go home, but I know that she's not ready as I will be doing EVERYTHING for her (cooking her meals, cutting her food, doing her laundry, bathing her, wiping her ass, etc.). She's terribly angry at me for telling her she's not ready to go home and ordered me out of her room. She has got mild dimentia but it's gotten worse since the accident. She thinks she can do things she absolutely cannot do and has proved this to me time and time again. I'm the only one in the family sitting with her for any lenght of time, so I'm the only one who knows remotely what's going on. She has told me my opinion does not matter (I'm the one who's doing 90% of all the caregiving). I work full time time trying to build a business and as of yesterday, I've told both her and my brother that unless she goes into an extended living facility, they are both on their own. She has money but she's cheap has hell so paying for someone to wait on her is going to be like extracting blood from a rock. She's verbally abusive and extremely uncaring and mostly toward me (but then that's really nothing new). As of today, I'm taking the week off from that hellish woman and I may not return to the facility at all...I need a BREAK. I've had bronchitis now for a month and a half with no site of getting better. My health has suffered and I'm stressed to the max and I'm only 5 weeks in...I can't even imagine doing this for a year or more.
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My dear treading water, you are sooooo not alone. I used to think that. As you can see by all the different responses on her there are many more of us in your situation. My thread has 600 + posts. Everyone is helping me cope with a lifetime of abuse and especially the last 2 years when I moved my mother in. Now she out, and I'm trying so hard to get my life back. It's not impossible. You CAN do it!
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