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I think my mom is using FOG even now during the pandemic. Some of her same tactics are starting to come up. For me, though I am becoming more afraid of even going to the grocery store for myself, and don't know how I'll find the courage to take her groceries. Someone on here talked about faith over fear.


We are seeing an increase of positives of Covid 19 in our immediate community/county.


I told her the other day I wouldn't be coming up that particular day and did she have enough food, and she said don't go to the store for me!!


She doesn't call me, just waits on me to call her. I'm starting to feel guilty about all of this.


I don't know what to do, other than keep staying home and out of harms way-so to speak.

Sespo, your mom sounds as if she could manage her PAID help; mine does, and she has hardly any short term memory. No matter, she makes sure they do their work; nice about it, but adamant. If you could manage to absent yourself a lot more, things would probably go better; the help is running you and disrespecting you - they see your mom doing it, so they do it, too. I see that dynamic in a friend's family, and it's particularly nasty; I hate it for you. I learned how to set and keep boundaries this last year, and my life is a great deal better. My husband got it started; said I was doing way too much for mom, who took advantage, and didn't seem to care that it was hard for me to drive into town and go to 5 stores or whatever for her at the drop of a hat. Now one of her paid helpers shops for her, and they do the myriad of other things she "needs". I go visit once a week or so, and spend time on the phone with her. Now and then we help with paperwork - that's it. Even her doctor comes to her apt now! You CAN get out of this cycle, and I'll pray that you will....
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I hear you, Sespo. I am a sounding board also, they seem to enjoy complaining about everything. No matter what is going on the complaints don't stop.
I did finally take her groceries and then left as soon as I could. I wanted to get back home -the safety of my home-
She was appreciative and 'paid' me so that was nice. She knows I won't be back over for awhile.
Take care and stay home as much as possible.
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I really appreciate this forum, because even with Covid-19 & all my other health issues from cervical fusions, knee operations and pre-cancerous conditions, I'm still running to my mother's home 2 to 3 times a day to help her. She has a 24 seven split shift staff. The only thing is that she had fractured her hip in the house about two weeks ago. We had to do FaceTime with her doctor and x-ray machine was sent to her home. She doesn't need surgery but can walk as tolerated. It was a lot of management of the staff to bring the food up to her room. It was amazing how they just were letting her lie on the bed and while they were on their cell phones. Now my mother seems to be stabilized and the staff is helping more, thanks to my intervention. However, even before the hip injury and COVID-19 my mother placed extraordinary demands on me that I couldn't even physically meet. If I told her I had to go home to make dinner for my husband, she would say to let him wait. If I told her that I had to go home because I was too exhausted, she would say too bad. I Spend as much is 3 to Eight hours a day with her in total. Every time I would try to leave she would get angry. I would always feel guilty. I noticed the guilt is mentioned in this forum quite a bit. I am always feeling guilty that I'm not doing enough. I am 64 years old, on disability and suffer from intractable neck & knee pain at times. When I'm there she has makes me do the work that the caregiver should do. Sometimes the caregivers take advantage and let me, the daughter, do their work. I am just exhausted. I am in charge of managing her stuff, but sometimes no matter how many times I say that certain chores should be done, according to the agency's guidelines, they just don't want to do them & next person to do. So, many times I wind up doing them. However, my mother notices that somethings are not done, and says there is poor management, which puts blame on me. I tell her that I tell them what to do or they know what they have to do, but they don't want to do it. So, my visits with her are spent doing the caregivers' work or explaining to her how I've spoken to her staff to do the work. Very rarely are the visits about her life or what's happening in my life. I told her that if she were in a home I wouldn't have to worry about 90% of this and we will have a real visits. I said I long for her to see me as her daughter. She sayVery rarely are the visits about what's happening in my life. I try to talk about her life and what she had accomplished in her life as a mother, but the conversations always go back to work some caregiver did or did not do. I told her that if she were in a home I wouldn't have to worry about 90% of this and we will have real visits. I said I long for her to view me just as her daughter. So, this has been going on for a long time prior to for Covid-19. She's clueless as to this pandemic.
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Rbuser, Yes these are difficult times for everyone. Some more than others. You mentioned the idea that “Faith overcomes Fear” in your original post. It is not that simple. There is reason to have some “fear”, or better said as “caution”. (Some religious extremists are using “Faith beats Fear” to convince people to ignore science and medical advice, and continue to go to church events as prior to the pandemic. That is not good advice.) Faith may reduce fear, but sometimes a little “fear” is realistic and reasonable. Enough to make you take realistic action and precautions.
I so relate to your problems with your mom, and wish somehow you could/would STOP ALL GUILT regarding her. I know it can be extremely hard, if it’s been conditioned into you since childhood. It’s time to stop letting her control you. Take care of yourself first.
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Jodi, thank you and I've done a lot of research on it. Was hoping I wouldn't be held to it during something like a pandemic. Ya know? :(
My therapist reached out to me yesterday to check with me on things. She's moving states away maybe already gone. I was making progress I thought with my issues. It takes time to build up trust with someone, but I am just thankful she (therapist) is ok/well. I don't share a lot about those things unless it's with her or here. She offered to set me up with someone else at the clinic or did I want to find someone else altogether.
Yes, I'm a DoNM.
I was making progress with boundaries, as when I would leave when things got shifty or visit or not.
Hoping all of you are staying safe at home. Take great care.
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RBuser,
If you haven't already done some online research about being the daughter of a narcissistic mother.
It sheds a lot of light on why you feel the way you do.
God bless!
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Thank you all for the replies. Another update here. I haven't been over to her apartment in 10 days. Today, this evening I woke to what I thought was my cell vibration sound (this info should be in the other thread about slipping) but there was no call on it. So, I called my Mom.
She is out checking her mail-at a cluster mail box in her apartment complex. I say call me back when you get home. She says 'why?'. Anyway, not long after that she calls.. She had been to KFC drive through. (Kentucky Fried Chicken). I asked had she tranferred the food to her container and thrown away the fast food ones. She said no not yet and then rather cheerily as if under completely normal circumstances she says 'come get some' I want to say I laughed but I just said. oh no thank you but thanks for the offer.
sighhh.
I am still staying home. I still haven't gone to the grocery store. I wish I could get past my fear of contracting a potentially deadly virus. Am I the only one?
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This is a horrible situation , for everyone .Take care of yourself , and try to fit your mom into the equation , as you can .If she was a lousy mom , or treated you badly , then don’t worry about her . I’m so sorry you had a bad childhood. It must be so hard to care about her now .Best of luck .
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Please do not feel guilty, else it makes you fall faint and ill.
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Show up in PPE !
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If you are getting paranoid about your own well being, then double it for her. She depends on others. Even in a good state of mind and understanding the severity of the virus issue, an elderly person wants company. Call her several times a day even if she is just venting or using guilt trips on you. See if you can get some other relatives to participate in calling her, too. Lots of people at home right now and they could spend 5-10 minutes on a phone call.
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Why would you feel guilty or remorseful? We are in a crisis pandemic and people are in great danger. You must take care of YOU first and foremost. Do NOT go to the grocery store except under the most severe need and then get what you need and do not go back again. Wear a mask and gloves and wash everything when you get home. Do NOT endanger yourself. See if you can find some delivery services but do not make any trips that are not l00000% necessary.
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In order to sleep well at night you have to address the issues that have you unsettled. I’m the one that has to go to the grocery store too and I’m 62.
my mom gets very snappy also. She tries to make me think I’m 12 again. I think some oldsters get bitter rather than appreciative unfortunately.
Make a list of the things you can do for her without regret. Delegate others to help.
Good luck. You aren’t alone.
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My area had been on shelter in place for two weeks and most stores have implemented special hours for those over 60 or immunocompromised. Many bring preordered groceries to the car for you or deliver to your home . If you haven’t see who will deliver to your mother. You should not be visiting her now anyway
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Guilt is in your mind. If you have mental health hotlines in your area, use them to talk about what you are feeling. Your first responsibility is to keep yourself well so that you'll be around to help others. In our neighborhood, some grocery stores are better than others in terms of having stocked shelves, no lines, easy to social distance. Some times of day also are better. When you go out, wear gloves as much as possible, cover your face and mouth with a scarf or bandana if you don't have a mask, and sanitize your hands while you are outside your house if you have been touching things (try not to touch your face). Wash your hands the minute you get back inside your house. It would be good to check in on your mother from time to time to see if her refrigerator and pantry are stocked. When you go in, keep your nose and mouth covered with a scarf or mask. If you feel sick, don't visit her. You can drop things off outside her door, but keep your nose and mouth covered. Don't blame her for not calling. It's OK if you are the one to call.
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This is not unusual behavior on the part of an elderly person, especially those who are no longer able to do for themselves.

As we age neurons in the frontal and temporal lobes become atrophied (shrink) over time & difficulty in thinking, controlling emotions, inability to organize, trouble communicating, and unusual behavior develop.

My father used to say that as we grow older we just show more of our true selves. I think it meant a person is no longer able to "hide" their true personalities.

Also, as an older persons world shrinks - when they are no longer able to do all the various things they once did for themselves, this loss of control creates a great deal of FEAR (most often subconsciously), & it tends to make them more & more demanding of others. This is especially the case when there is only one person who is a constant in their lives. I personally experienced this watching my mother (an only child) take care of her mother who lived to be 102.5. I experienced it myself when I was the only one to take care of my mother. It was emotionally & physically debilitating. If I had the opportunity to do this over again, I would do many things differently & I wouldn't feel so obligated & guilty because I would understand what dynamics were at work.

I say this because it's important that you realize this & understand why a person becomes this way (unless they have always been demanding, controlling, manipulative, etc.)

There is no reason for you to feel guilty. Guilty only keeps you from living your own life. Each individual goes through life in stages or chapters in which there are different priorities as well as things that are more important than they were previously or will be in the future.

Psychology Today has an interesting article on guilt. Below is the section I felt most aptly fits your situation.

Guilt Cause #4: Guilt that you didn’t do enough to help someone. Perhaps you have a friend who is very ill or who is caring for an ill relative. You’ve given hours of your free time to help that person, but now you have other obligations that you absolutely must fulfill. Or perhaps your neighbors suffered a tragic loss such as the death of a relative or fire that destroyed their home. You’ve offered days and weeks of your free time but, again, you find you can’t continue to do so. The guilt now starts to get to you and you try desperately to figure out ways to help them despite the toll it’s taking on you. Psychologists use the term compassion fatigue to capture this feeling of burnout. Though used typically to describe professional helpers, it can also occur among people who offer continued informal support to others in need. Adding to the overall emotional drain of the situation is the guilt you overlay on top of the fatigue because you think you should be doing more.

You can decide or not whether you want to continue to make the sacrifices needed to help these individuals. However, it’s important to separate your desire to help from the guilt you fear will overwhelm you if you don’t. Acting out of guilt can only drain you further and ultimately make you a less effective helper.
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I use to have groceries delivered but now getting a delivery time is impossible. Next week I'll have to venture into the grocery store which I'm not looking forward to.

As of today grocery stores and retail stores in my state are implementing stricter social distancing mandates such as limiting the amount of customers,
making aisles one way,marking distance with tape at checkout and even putting up plexiglass to protect cashiers and customers.
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Manipulation is human nature and when you feel you’ve lost your power in the world some aging folks pick it back up in other ways. Also some undiagnosed personality disorders become more pronounced as you age.

My mother is is borderline, that’s a whole story in itself, anything I do to help she sabotages it and says she has no help and everyone is evil and stealing. She’s terribly abusive to caregivers they quit within hours and she says they need a thicker skin. she’s brutal but acts completely helpless.

I realize there is not much I can do to turn her situation around and I certainly don’t want to go down with the ship. Something my mother would have no problem doing. Some of these are hard realities about our parents that we had an idea of in the earlier years
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Question: Is your mom the type to starve herself if you don't call her to make sure she has enough food or eats? If no, then call a couple times a week to socially interact and check in on her. If yes, then talk with mom over the phone to create a meal plan for the week using ingredients she tells you are in the house. Check in and ask what she has for breakfast/lunch/dinner/snack? If you find you have to micromanage her meals daily, then she probably needs somebody there daily to care for her needs.
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I know it's easier said than done, but try not to feel guilty about things that are out of your control, and this pandemic is most definitely out of your control!

My mother had grown used to me running out to the grocery store 3-4 times a week, which is what I was doing before this illness struck. Now I am going only 1 time per week. It took a few times of telling her to write down what she needed on the white board I keep on my fridge for grocery lists, but she is doing it now. Mostly because the last time I went to the grocery store, as soon as I came home she said "oh, I forgot, I need such and such" and I, in essence, told her too bad, now she would have to wait until the next time I went. (She's done this to me for years BTW, back to when I was a teenager and still living at home. The grocery store was just around the corner and we could walk there and she would either forget to tell me all the stuff she needed, or not give me enough money to pay for the stuff - which is every embarrassing when you're 15 years old!).
I think people in general get used to a routine and when that's thrown off, a lot of people don't cope well. And that's across all ages, not just elderly being cared for.
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Try to send a package. The mailman picks up at your door.
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My mum, who had been quite depressed about her (already self-isolated) life and criticizing us more than ever before the pandemic, now seems oddly cheerful - merely saying it is 'boring'. She happily tells my brother and me how much she misses my husband, her golden boy (he does most of what she wants and never challenges her, as we sometimes do). We aren't allowed into her AL so send parcels round with things she has asked for or that we hope might give her something to do. She puts them aside saying she can't be bothered. I waited a week and still she refused to ring any of us - we could have died of COVID-19 and she wouldn't have known...

I am only feeling guilty for the amount of relief I feel that we aren't responsible for her at the moment and don't have to visit!

As for boundaries, they only really work when both parties agree to them. My mother pours on the emotional blackmail when we try to reduce her dependence on us (while making sure her needs are met, of course). Being guilt-tripped isn't nice but neither is letting her run our lives.
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Seniors with limitations do get frightened. Important to set boundaries with them: “here’s what I will do, and I will not risk my own well-being. If I’m endangered, you will be without my help. “
You must put your well-being first - <and you should NEVER be her sole source of help.> Good luck.
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Our meals on wheels is not taking any new clients now. Unfortunately, I feel your pain as I too have the same problem with my mom. I have arthritis and Fibromyalgia and some days are very difficult for me, but she yells at me and says I do it on purpose, and I'm no good. When I do go over there, she works me like a slave and nearly kills me! So there's no pleasing someone like that, and you'll just have to keep up what you are doing. Sounds like you are handling all this very well! Keep a firm hand on those boundaries... it is tough love. B.
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Grocery delivery is a great idea. Giant has instacart. I have used it before, and I would recommend it. Don't put yourself in harms way.
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I don't know enough about your mother's past behavior or your relationship with her, but it is clear that you need to establish your boundaries with your mom to ensure that both of you are safe and healthy. I have a mother who has always been a narcissist, and uses guilt, fear, and obligation among other tactics to try to control anyone in her life. She groomed me from childhood to serve her, which I have worked on for many years to resist so I can have my own life. Needless to say, she is miserable. I realized this years ago and have slowly introduced the boundaries that make me feel the most comfortable in caring for her. She is 93 and I'm 64 and it took me weeks into COVID-19 to get her to understand the "new normal" for us. Be clear about what you will do and encourage her to call you whenever she wants to talk or needs something. Repeat when needed. Don't give in to unrealistic expectations. Make sure you have a strong support system to help you stay on track. Adhere to your boundaries and both of you should stay safe and well. Best wishes to you.
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rbuser - she isn't calling you, why are you calling her? Why not give yourself a break and go a while without calling her. It sounds like she is fine and has what she needs. Not the pandemic nor anything else will not stop a narcissist from acting the way they always have. They are wired to act like that and will continue to use FOG.

Don't let the guilt take over. You are not guilty of anything. You have done and are doing nothing wrong. You are feeling false guilt due to possibly not meeting the unrealistic expectations of others (your mother).

Try to let go of pleasing your mother. it isn't going to happen. Can grocery delivery be arranged for either of you?

Look after yourself first and foremost. Stay home and stay safe
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You offered to put her up & shop for both of you. She declined. She has chosen to stay in her own apartment instead. OK.

But that choice does not come with automatic special b & c benefits - you being at her beck & call.

Make it clear & simple. I'm staying home. You're staying home. Order everything you can by delivery - meals on wheels is an excellent idea. I will not endanger myself bringing items you can have delivered.

Sometimes there are cognitive issues that prevent the elder from seeing how their requests may endanger others. Even when pointed out, their needs/wants/whims are front & centre to them. It's OK to decline such requests to preserve your own health.
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Nancymc, I haven't always had the best relationship with my Mom but since she moved back to her apartment it improved (well go figure)
I am in contact with her by phone and told her there was a place very near her that does the meals for seniors, it is during a certain time of day and I think she is going to do that. I have also offered her to come back and stay with me and we can hunker down here for the duration. Or even go to my brothers house (unoccupied) and stay there. Oh no, she wants to stay where she is. I'm not going to feel guilty about it anymore. But I can't say I'm not concerned and even worried for her. Thankfully there is management in her complex during the week.
This pandemic is hard on us all. Isn't it?
take care and be safe.
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RBuser,
Obviously you know that Fear, Obligation, and Guilt are all manipulation. Don’t be controlled by it ! ! As long as her basic needs are being met, drop any and all Guilt ! !
Even before COVID-19, my mom was expecting me to do things for her which put me in danger. Her own fear of aging and losing her independence was overwhelming to her. Much less concern for me. That hurt. She finally went to senior living a few months ago, after having refused it for years. Even there, she still preferred for me to do all of her rides to doctors, and much more. Now she is in lockdown there because of COVID-19. Yeah, just in time. I know all of her needs will be met there. Much better, in fact, than if I were still doing all of her tasks. That would be especially risky for me now, due to my age and a compromised immune system. Yet, her needs always seemed to be most important to her.
I’ll need to keep setting limits once this current lockdown passes. The problem is ongoing.
If not yet done, I suggest that you read more about setting limits with aging parents. It’s a common topic on this site. Your life matters too.
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