I knew she wouldn't keep quiet long. I call to say how are things after almost two weeks since her surgery and haven't been able to see her. And though she has been saying "fine", this time she says how she is hooked up to a machine that keeps her blood from clotting (why couldn't she had said that before?) and how the boyfriend is getting "home sick". So, this to me are signals that she is trying to send me that she will soon need my help. Instead, I asked her what will she do if he goes home (he lives several states away down south--she's up north) and she says she should be "okay" by then. "By then", means the end of the month that he plans to leave. I am now uneasy and said to make sure she has a plan "B", because I know damn well that is too soon for her to be autonomous. Though the machine is supposed to come off early next week, she still hasn't had a chance to learn how to walk again with the new hip. I told her she needs to have that plan "B" and she relented that she plans to have home care. At some point, she called me "selfish". First, I denied being so, but then I said, "You know what, yes because I am taking care of my life." For anyone who doesn't know, I have to work and go to school and I am in the middle of mid-terms. She also said I am always trying to run things, and I let her know I am tired of her not planning ahead; this is not something that I invented, it is a necessary evil, I said in so many words. Anyway, I told her I am tired of going through this with her and said I hope she feels better and hung up. In the meantime, I think the boyfriend heard everything because she has a thing with putting me on speaker for some reason. She probably wants him to "see" how I speak to her. I didn't want him to hear any of this drama because what he's doing is wonderful of him (I think he does get paid something from her, but I think he should for giving up his own everyday life to do what professionals get paid for). But I bet he is tired himself because of how she talks to those who get too close to her. I was so upset when I called afterwards to see how my (paternal) grandmother was doing--a routine I tend to do with both--I spilled the beans to her for the umpteenth time of the talk I had with my mother. I am also still kind of upset with my grandmother too, because of how she yelled at me when my mother had her accident almost two months ago and it put me in harm's way going to her unlocked and dark apartment to secure it. All I hear are the complaints while I have to figure how to keep myself together. So, I don't want to go through this crazy miserable-go-round again, especially I have also been fighting the flu off and on and trying to keep up with work and school. And doing very well in school! I keep saying that, but I'm repeating it because I'm not stopping for anyone, and I knew this talk today with my mother was coming! At least I got my grandmother, who usually doesn't try to speak on my side, agree that my mother is a grown woman and she has to deal with it, and to only do what I can. I also said how I have to worry about her, don't forget. And I'm not even retired! What one person can be expected to do all that? I just thank God that she does have her niece who is retired. Anyway, I told my grandmother please don't hate me because she may hear how I may have to turn my mother down if it comes to the point of one of her emergencies. I know my mother, and that is what she will end up recklessly doing that pulls me in. I'm the planner type (so is my grandmother who is doing better than my mom!) so I can't stand getting caught up in my mother's mess. Not to mention, a sister who hasn't been there enough, but acts holier than thou, whom may chime in and I may have to both end up verbally and physically fighting to defend myself. All while I'm busy trying to make my "selfish" life better. Ugh.

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Jeanne, right on to that. And one of the tools I found to stay strong is this site; it's helping a lot of people.


I meant to say thank you for realizing that the other person is not trying to run anything. It's defense talk because when somebody is not doing the right thing, no matter if it's their choice; choices can adversely affect others to make them say things after years of frustration. I want her to do her thing if that makes her happy, but I will say something if enough is enough.

Keep repeating, "Not going to be my problem." Not your circus, not your monkey.

You are NOT responsible for your sister's decisions, for her motives for what she says, or her behavior.

Keep repeating, "Not going to be my problem."

Stick to your own decisions, your own actions, your own motives. Stick to your work and school.

Yup. You are annoyed. Don't blame you. Not your circus, not your annoying monkey. Stay strong!

P.S. I already told my grandmother don't hate me when I don't respond to my mother's crisis next time, and heaven forbid. She can be a very judgmental and passive aggressive person. Turns out, what was more on her mind was that she didn't get an opportunity to tell me my sister (the hotheaded one who's just like my mother) was in the hospital and she didn't know why. Instead of thinking, "Oh, my" I'm busy thinking "Oh, great. Here we go..." but what am I supposed to do at that point? Say, "I don't know what to tell you?" before I even know what's going on? So I said I'd get in touch because my sister hadn't answered my grandmother's calls. I left her a message and texted her. She texts back she is okay, had cosmetic surgery, saw our grandmother was calling and she just wasn't up to talking. And to please call her to let her know. I said, 'Ok'. While anyone reading this may say, "Okay cool, what's the prob?" Well, not the actual letting my grandmother know. But that this may be used later as an excuse why my sister said no worries, she'd be there for my mother if the boyfriend couldn't (which she offered without me saying one word), while this surgery she had can now be used to say why she wouldn't be able to be there. Not going to be my problem, but it's still annoying as hell to even go through hearing any of this.

Hi Barb and Ikdrymom,

Trust that I hear you. I haven't "jumped" since. But you have to realize this is one of the ways I keep cleansing of the write this out. Because I mentioned before, I normally will just leave a narcissistic person alone i.e. a friend, because that's the best way to communicate...with no communication. But with my mother and other family members for that matter, there's eventually going to be some type of contact i.e., "How are you doing?" has been my thing while taking care of my life. And once again, I ended up telling her "Yes, you're right. I've 'selfishly' been taking care of me. I have to go. Feel better." Where's the kudos for that? But mostly, I will be writing because it helps me to relax and keep focused more of how to proceed, especially when all the "claws" of not just her, but other family members come out. It's not easy, and it's going to take plenty of practice time and hearing your honest words. So, the "what" I get. It's the "how" part I'm taking care of. I hope this sounds clear the way I explained it. Thanks.

I see the OP "telling her how to run her life" as trying to head off any future crisis that she may get dragged back into whether she likes it or not. Been there, done that. My father would constantly call me...his opening line was always "I've got a problem". I tried to find ways to head off potential problems then I realized he WANTS these problems so he can call me to fix them for him. He doesn't want me to be proactive ...where is the fun in that?

Here is what you have to do.....stop fixing things for her. Let her make her choices and let her live with the consequences. I finally had to start saying to my father when he called with his daily problem "I don't know what to tell you". He couldn't argue with that.

Let her live her life, but at the same time allow yourself t live yours.

CeeCee, you called to ask how she is. She's fine. Hip replacement patients are generally back to doing for themselves in 4 to six weeks. She's going to have home health come in. Detach.

If you are going to detach from folks, you need not to be dependent upon them for approval. " you're selfish" gets responded to with " I suppose you see it that way. I'm taking care of myself".

Stop telling her how to run her life. The natural consequences of her poor planning ( if you don't ride to the rescue) are powerful teachers.


Thanks. That's encouraging to know. Actually, she is home; apparently I'm hearing from her and some other sources that they are letting people go home after only a couple of days in the hospital. Then they started sending a nurse and physical therapist to the house. I'm wondering, do you think her being 80 makes a difference in her healing time?


It's strange to me that you read something else whenever I state that I am telling my mother I CANNOT be there. My point is she keeps trying to reel me in, this time by mentioning the machine. Plus, that's not her niece; I clearly said that's my grandmother's niece.

Where is your mom now? In rehab taking therapy? I know when I had my hip replaced, they didn’t release me until I could walk down a long hallway and back. Then they sent me home with a pack of injections to give myself in my stomach once a day.

If Mom is in the hospital, her BF shouldn’t have to stay with her. He’s entitled to go home. He’s also not obligated to take care of her once she is home. A hip replacement is not a debilitating disease. When I got home, I did everything for myself, including taking care of the animals, house and hubby. You be careful, watch yourself, rest when you need to and move on. Mom shouldn’t need long-term care. A nurse came to our house to check and remove my stitches and that was it. Affer a month of being careful, I was back at it, back in my life.

Don’t count your chickens before they’re hatched. Don’t smother Mom with good intentions and supervision. Grandma is right. Mom IS a big girl. She made it this far. Be there if she needs you, but don’t interfere. Since there is obviously a bit of stress there with Mom, dont add to it by jumping into her care plan.

Why are you putting yourself in the way of getting caught up in your mother's mess? Weren't you going to detach?

She is on a machine and she hasn't told you about it until now. Fine. Why do you need to know? She is handling things herself. Let her. Let her niece help her. Let her boyfriend help her. Stay out of it.

To quote your mother, stop always trying to run things. If she does call upon you for help, that is time enough to say "no." For now, keep your contacts to polite inquiries about her well-being.


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