I’m falling apart as a care giver for my always so difficult mother. She has always had a litany of emotional issues and the last three years of illness has tested me beyond my limits. My shrink gets it but I am unwilling to change.

Mother is demanding, ungrateful, critical, stubborn, mean spirited, controlling, bossy, abusive, cheap, angry, unable to communicate emotions, needy, negative and wants everything done now. I’ve been told to move out by every health professional. What I find especially irritating is that my siblings and her siblings think it’s my own issues that cause the problems and if only I …

I’m expected to pay rent to care for her even though she has money. I’ve given up so much to do the ‘right’ thing. Burn out is an understatement. I could scream my head off but no one will listen. Unfortunately I have relapsed into my addictions after more than 20 years of sobriety. Yes, I do have faith but even my priest told me to run and not walk away from this situation. I don’t like living in a small village, I miss being a successful and independent adult and after two years I don’t see the situation improving.

Oh yeah, ma smokes her head off while sleeping and doesn’t believe the house could burn down. She has decided she can drive and insists I come with her in case she gets dizzy on the road.She can’t drive but insists on doing so. It’s crazy town here and well ...

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I meant to say you CAN'T FIX THEM. No way no how.

Lu, you don't say how old your mom is, and if she has any dementia going on. You gotta figure that your mom is NEVER going to change. She hasn't up till now, so how long do you want to do this? If she's at death's door then I can see sticking it out for longer, but if she's gonna outlive all of us, then it's time to let it go. You did your part, you took on the responsibility when others wouldn't, so there's no shame in admitting that she's too difficult for even her daughter to handle. Some people are just miserable and mean and you fix them. Just because you give up on living with her doesn't mean you still can't help from a distance. Normally a divorce is not a good thing, but in your case you and your mom need a divorce. Do it.

I am sorry.

If you are going to provide care for your Mom you have to be in good shape yourself. Mentally, emotionally - this is a one of the hardest task anyone ever takes on.

You have to be "in charge" and that means Mom CAN NOT smoke in bed, she CAN NOT drive the car - you have to be the one to protect her from herself or why else are you there?

Sometimes we must hide the smokes, the car keys - whatever it takes.

Doing this proects Mom AND you - ask yourself what would happen if she did burn the house down smoking on your watch? Or cause an accident driving on your watch? These are hard things - I know! But they are part of it - a very important part of it. As a caregiver you MUST take them on.As a caregiver it becomes your responsibility to do so - and sometimes saying NO to a parent can be the toughest part of the job.

My Mom was vey difficult too - I was only one of two people in the family she still had a relationship with - and this was mainly because I knew she needed me.

If you are unable or unwilling to assume these responsibilities, you may need to step back and let someone else step up. If caregiving has resulted in addictions returning after 20 yrs of sobriety - that speaks for itself. How can you take care of Mom if you can't care for yourself?

I am sorry - but based solely on your writing it seems the right thing for both of you is to find someone else to take over Moms care.

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