My sister has invited the family to a barbecue on Memorial Day. To make a long story short, I don't want to attend, so I said I was going to a friend's house. When Mom brought it up to me at dinner later that day, she got really angry, at me AND my friend!! She said the friend (whom she doesn't know) should have invited her as well since I "take care of her" (my mother). I was flabbergasted. I said I had made other plans before my sister emailed, which I had a perfect right to do. She continued to have pretty much a tantrum -- in a restaurant! She said maybe we "shouldn't see each other anymore!" She said that as the closed child to her home, I "had" to take care of her. I live nearby to the townhome where my mother lives independently. As she no longer drives, and won't pay an outsider helper, I am left to do all the driving plus many of the chores. The sister who invited us lives about 20 minutes away and has not been out to see or help mom in 2 months. She used to pay Mom's bills, but because her daughter is having psychiatric problems, she can't come out. But she continues to play tennis with her team and go about all her other activities. She also has a husband and I am a widow (as is Mom). I feel like crap today after my mother basically berated me -- the daughter who does the most for her. Am I the classic doormat and how do I get up off the floor and still help her. I am tired of the verbal abuse and the guilt trip. I think my Dad would be very proud of the job I am doing. I feel like I'm my mother's husband!!

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You owe your mother nothing. Don't allow her to abuse you that way and stop driving her places. There are plenty of public agencies that so that. Try to remember this is YOUR Mom's problem, not yours. If possible, tell Mom you will look into finding a caregiver who will take her out and do chores. You are being controlled by a master manipulator (I'm in the same position as you). But I only take my Mom to doctor appts., out to eat or meet friends. Like I did, YOU need to change the rules and tell her or write down what you will and will not do. I know it's hard. My brother does NOTHING, but expects I should handle everything because I live with Mom. I do handle most things, but I also have her POA, so she can't tell me not to spend money on her care. Good luck. I know it is very hard. Tell your sister to get off her fat ass and pick up Mom for the BBQ. If she won't, tell your Mom you asked her, but she is unable to help this time. It will start to sink in. But you have to draw the line in the sand (because no one else is looking out for you).

Aww, the browbeater, the threatener, the commander...I had one of those mothers also. So if your mom thinks you shouldn't see each other anymore, who is she going to "command" to care for her?
Don't attend sister's barbecue, don't take your mother, let her find her own transportation even if she is forced to pay for it and go enjoy your day doing something fun with someone who appreciates you. Let mom know you won't be bullied and you are not her doormat. That is no way to treat the child who sacrifices to care for her. I know how that feels. Not very good. She knew exactly what she was saying to you and you don't have to take it. Nor do you have to listen to tantrums in a restaurant. My mother pulled that one time and I told her I'd never take her to dinner again if she thought I was going to put up with that behavior. She listened and dinners out never included tantrums again.

Your story sounds so familiar. Parents can start to feel that the caregiving child is just an extension of themselves and that they should do what the parent wants them to do. They often lose sight of the need of the caregiver to live a life of their own. Basically, everything starts to be about them. Why your friend hadn't invited her, why you weren't going to be the one to drive her to your sister's. I have a feeling that the latter was a big consideration for your mother, because you are her main wheels.

The caregiving child becomes so many things to the parent when they start losing the ability to do things... or when they don't want to do them anymore. The child becomes the maid, the cook, the chauffeur, the yardman, etc. Unfortunately, the parent frequently seeks to control the person that is depended on. And when the person shows a little interest in leading their own lives, the parent can feel like they are losing control of one of the vital body parts.

It is not fair or fun to be treated like an extension of a parent. Alas, many will resort to bullying to try to get their way. It sounds like what your mother was doing to me. Good for you not to cave in to it. This will give your mother a chance to spend some alone time with your sister. It will be good for both of them. Sometimes we caregivers can also be seen as an extension or a sidekick by siblings. The only thing we can do is make sure that we are leaving enough life for ourselves. I hope you enjoy Memorial Day with your friend.

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