My mom has always been emotionally unavailable to me, and pretty much a narcissist. My dad divorced her when I was probably under 10 because he couldn't handle her emotional unavailability and leaving the housework to him (or her sister, when she visited). We lived down south then.

When I was 18, my dad moved me back up to the Pacific NW, and I spent a lot of time with him & my step mother. My dad was a very smart, caring person....very stubborn & principled too. I loved him a lot. I inherited his stubborn streak. He never said one negative thing about my mom that I can recall. I can't say the same for her.

Anyhow, my step mother passed in Nov of 2021 at 78 years old, and my dad passed last September at 86. He had dementia. I miss him a lot.

Now, back to my mom. One of my uncles helped me move her back up to the Pacific NW back in 2000. She was (is) a huge hoarder, and it was quite an ordeal. She didn't think about saving for retirement, just spent her money "buying out craft store stock at pennies on the dollar when they were going out of business"....not because SHE had a business...just because she's a hobbyist.

When she moved up here, she bought the 4 bedroom, 2 story, house her parents left to her two brothers, her sister & her at a really low price. Yet, even with her extremely low payment, it became evident within a couple of years that she couldn't make it financially, so my husband & I have basically spent almost $200K helping her in the last 20 years (house payments, car repairs, house repairs, etc). We put prommisory notes/deeds of trust on her house so ostensibly we can get that money back some time in the future, for our retirement. Even this is okay...surprisingly this isn't where my anger comes from.

For the last 20 years, my mom complains about everything I buy for her. I bought her a laptop, a phone, windows for her house, upgraded her bathroom. Her response? No "thank you" ever...just "why doesn't my computer do 'this'? So and so's computer does that"...."why doesn't my phone do xyz?" Never a thank you unless I say something to her, then finally she thanks me. She has never once called to ask how I'm doing....only calls if she "needs" something. I recently had a minor heart attack and mentioned it to her. The first words out of her mouth were to change the subject to herself. It's ALWAYS what she has done with me.

I made the mistake of venting with my uncle the other day....I said some very hateful things about her. His response was "she never does that with me...I'd call her on it....but I've seen her do it with you". Believe me, I've called her on it countless times. At this point I'm sick of doing anything to help her...really want nothing to do with her. And now my uncle is ghosting me for venting with him, even though I followed up with an email explaining what I've gone through for the past 20 years. He's the one that pretty much sent me down this path of taking care of her financially & he's seen how she acts towards me...why is he now surprised that I'm so resentful and bitter about her? If she actually cared about me it wouldn't be an issue.

So here she is, now 86 years old, still mobile & no dementia. I want her to stay living in her house (3 hours from me) as long as she can because I know I can't have her in MY house. I don't think I'd ever hit her, but verbally I'm sure I couldn't hold back. Believe me, I feel horrible about it...I really wish I could let it go...but I'll need to find a way to put her into a home when she can't live there by herself any more. Everyone else (according to her) thinks she is a dear sweet person. Well, I've not seen that side of her....& I'm her only child.

I so miss my dad & step-mom. At least his dementia brought my half-sister & I close together so we both can talk & vent about things. I so envy the caring relationship she had with her mom.

I am starting to see a counselor about her, but not sure at this late stage (I'm 62 now) it will do any good.

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Thank you for all of your comments. It has been really good to hear that others don't think I'm a horrible person. Even though we know we shouldn't care what others think of us, most of us do anyway, right?

Thank you, BurntCaregiver. I've read so many of your posts, and think you are a very level headed person. And AlvaDeer I will definitely check out the book you mention. You are right CountryMouse...see my next paragraph.

Regarding my uncle, I was wrong about how he processed it...he wasn't ghosting me...he was taking some time to think about things. In my latest email to him I started out with "I'm not asking for you to do anything....I just want you to understand what brought on my venting". He replied back to me today that he does not think ill of me after all. I'm so happy to hear that. I had 3 family members pass away in the last 16 months, so I really was stressing that I had lost another due to venting.

Before reading your responses, I did end up buying a bird cage and toys for it. Mainly I did it to keep her from going out and buying a dog or a cat because she is lonely. I have nothing against dogs or cats at all, but at her age, and with no neighbors she knows that can check in on them if she goes in the hospital for a day or so....with sometimes losing her balance (I don't want her tripping over a pet), and with one eye with macular degeneration she has no business taking on the responsibility of a dog or a cat.

Late last year, after my dad passed away, she applied for (and received) higher social security, so I stopped giving her more money at that time.

I do and will continue thinking about whether she still needs to be staying there. I agree she doesn't need to be in that big of a house, but her parents lived there, so she wants to stay living there for now too. Even so, I've told her if she can't keep in physical shape to stay there (I've told her she needs to walk or use the rowing machine every day and stay hydrated....and she actually has been doing that), or if her macular degeneration starts in her other eye, I will have to force the issue of selling the house and moving her into assisted living.

I guess I don't really hate her, but I don't want to deal with her any more than I have to either. Agreed, she will never change. She says "I love you" every time we hang up, but I look at it as lip service and that it means nothing. How can you have no interest in someone, and complain about everything they do, and expect them to believe you love them? I rarely say it back to her, as I really don't feel like saying it.

Totally agree about the counseling too. I'm hoping it will help me to release feelings of anger I have towards her at times, as physically I know anger can cause medical issues, and I have to look after myself.

Thanks again for the comments!

Regarding your uncle: he acknowledged what you said and he went further and validated it. I think that's quite a big deal. If he now doesn't know how to continue the conversation, well - you've just presented a late middle age man with an insoluble emotional problem, and no guidance as to what useful job he is supposed to do. My guess is that his head is spinning. What do you want him to do?

Regarding your mother: is that house still costing you money? Because what I can't see is what good a lady of 86 gets from a 4-bedroomed house that she can't afford to run. Sell it and find her a retirement property.

I don't know what you can do about the bitterness but I hope your counsellor can help.

Michelle, likely the millionth time I have mentioned/recommended this book, and I think the author should give me royalties! Please order from your library Liz Scheier's memoir Never Simple. Ms Scheier writes of her life trying to help her mother who had mental conditions that ran the whole line. She had the help of Social Services and counselors, and this went on for decades, all to no avail. Never any changes, never any help, always only worries.
I don't say this book will help you. I DO think it has the power to make you feel less alone, and to know that really there is so little you can do. A GOOD counselor can help you not enable all this, and help you get out of habitual patterns of hopes and expectations that one day you will have a "normal" Mom who will say "Daughter, but for you I would never have made it". That's not going to happen.
Everything is relative. To me you are young. In fact you are my daughter's age. And she is just embarking on closing in on retirement and freedom, now her son is raised and through college--she's ready to travel, to have good times with her hubby. You are entering some of the best years of your life; I want you to take advantage of them in this your ONE life. I wish you luck.

I can totally relate to your situation with your mother because mine is very similar.
How about if you start coping with it where I started. Forgive yourself for having feelings of anger and hurt towards her. Your feelings are valid and should never be discounted or dismissed.
Next, stop trying to help your mother or impress her. Don't buy her anything. Don't give her money. Don't anything. Nothing you do or give her will ever be enough or good enough. You sound like a very loving and caring person. Give your love and care to people who want it and who will reciprocate it. This is what I did and it will give you peace.
You can have a relationship with your mother if you want to, but it has to be on your terms not hers.
It's good that you were able to build a relationship with your father. Keep in mind that no matter how nice and caring he was in your adult life, he was just as selfish and narcissistic as your mother. My father was too. A man who truly cares about his kids doesn't leave them to be brought up by women like our mothers.
My father "loved" me very much in my adult life. I grew up beautiful (I look just like him). I married handsome men. I lived in very nice homes. He was a great father in good times when he didn't have to do anything or be responsible for anything. But, when the chips were down and one of his kids needed him he could disappear like smoke on the wind and did.
I think you should give your mother the ultimatum. That she either accepts whatever help you give her and be grateful for it, or she's on her own and the state can sort her out.
Please start to forgive yourself. You deserve better than to beat yourself up with guilt anf shame.

In hindsight, you should have not supported her in any way. The house, she did not need a 2 story, 4 bedroom house at 66 yrs old. So when it came to no money for upkeep, she should have sold it. Took the proceeds and moved into a nice apt where she was not responsible for the upkeep. If you needed to do anything for her it would be necessities only. Food and utilities, but even then I would want to know how she was budgeting her money. When u don't have enough money coming in it means you have to have to downsize to what u can afford not expecting someone to support u.

If I had bought my Mom a phone and computer and she did nothing but complain, I would not be buying her anything else. These type people u can never satisfy. So you stop trying, Give her $100 for her Birthday, MDay and Christmas and tell her to spend as she wishes. If she wants a phone, you can get them for $100. I gave my Aunt money and she saved it up for something she wanted.

Thats what you need to realize, Mom will never be satisfied so stop trying. If she hints for a new phone, tell her she will have to get one for herself because she only complains when u get her one. If you looking for love and being appreciated, your Mom does not have the ability to do this. Your Dad was smart, he left her and took you with him.

Therapy is a good thing. But you need to set boundaries for you. Mom will always try to cross them. And if the time comes and she ends up in the hospital/rehab, and your told she is 24/7 care, you tell them she needs to be placed. Because you refuse to care for her in her home or your home. You refuse to set up caregivers for her because she is such a b***h and no one would probably stay. At ur age, you don't need that kind of problem.

And...don't feel guilty about ever needing to place her. What goes around comes around.

Stick with the therapy. And, if the counselor does not seem like a good fit-find another. They will not be offended and are quite used to this happening. When I was in therapy, there were times, right before an appointment, where I just did not want to go. Which, for me, meant, I'd better go-and work through the resistance-and those were productive sessions for me. I'd even tell the therapist that I didn't want to be there-we'd laugh and get started.
My mother was a narcissist. It was not easy taking care of her when she developed colon cancer. But, I did it, because I knew, for myself, it was the right thing to do.
Otherwise, when dealing with difficult people, my go-to motto for the past few years is: "They don't have to change. I can". It has served me well, and helped to establish healthy boundries with a new round of caregiving I am doing now.

My mother acted the same way yours does. Except I never paid for a penny of her bills or expenses and let her know from the onset she and dad would be living in Independent Living, Assisted Living or Memory Care Assisted Living as needed. And they did. I didn't "put" them anywhere.....I just set down my boundaries as an only child and saved my sanity, marriage, and finances in the process.

Don't expect therapy to change the dynamics of a dysfunctional relationship or mother after all these years. Just expect to change your own behaviors to find peace.

huggggg. ❤️🙂

1. why does your mother do this against you, and not against your uncle? he's a man. you're a girl -- your mother is jealous of you, your youth, your success, your joy, your femininity, your good looks, your happy relationships. your uncle shouldn't be surprised at all - he should be fully aware that some mothers are very nasty to their DAUGHTERS. he's now ghosting you. he can't be bothered to stand up for you. there aren't many people in this world who will REALLY stand up for someone; it's rare.

2. would she treat you this way, if you had been a son? absolutely not.

3. please keep in mind, we are millions of daughters, since the beginning of time, who are treated terribly by their jealous mothers. some mothers are very kind to their daughters -- great. but your mother isn't, and it's very common. 🙁

4. your mother will never change. she'll become worse towards you, as she gets older.

5. it's totally up to you, how much you want to help your mother. i suggest finding some way to have less contact. it's impossible to have a peaceful, happy life, with someone (like a toxic mother) picking on you. it's almost like being married to one's mother. in fact, your father divorced her. but now you are stuck with her - like many of us abused daughters - as if our mother is our toxic/abusive boyfriend.

Well, you have all the earmarks of being a codependent enabler. You just keep digging your mother out of trouble. The question is why? I am glad to hear that you are getting some help.

Do both of you a favor, stop paying her bills, stop enabling her. Sell her house, get your money back and use the rest to fund her in a home.

You are trying to buy her love, doesn't work that way, she is using you and you are allowing it to happen.

What difference does it make that your step-sister had a good relationship with her mother? Actually, none two different people.

You do understand that your mother can live a long time? My mother is 98, I cut my ties with her 12 years ago, my brother is now stuck with her, I do support him behind the scenes.

Years of abuse, I finally decided it was her or me, I chose me and she could care less.

IMO you are trying to create a world that will never exist, it is pure fantasy, might be time to get real, set your boundaries and stick to them.

Keep up the therapy it will help you regain your life.

Sending support your way.

Why do you feel an obligation to give money to your mother?

Stop. Just stop.

And yes, therapy helps even at your age. I'm nearly 70 and it helps.

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