I. Hate. This. My mother has used me as a crutch for her disability (hearing loss) since I was 10 years old. I had to be her ears/translator for doctors appointments, meetings, the phone, the door, transportation, shopping, and EVERYTHING ELSE. High School, College, and Professional years have all been disrupted because I always need to tear away from my life to supplement hers. I was considered intellectually gifted, now I feel that her extensive family network massaged/groomed my 'gift' into being her crisis worker. My mother has always manipulated me to take care or be around her for one reason or another. She'd have other relatives call and stage a crisis so that I could gallop into town to save her. It turned out she only needed a ride to the grocery store, and didn't want anyone else to take her. She has a history of refusing help from others because she only wants me to do it. "She sure loves her daughter" they say. They have no clue what the dynamic is. I never got married. All of my romantic relationships turned out to be awful because everything I try to do rests on my mom's contingencies. I have no children of my own, and my clock is almost up. Any attempt to live up to my potential or even take care of my own health is considered 'selfish' and lectures come in from family on what I should and shouldn't be doing. She had high blood pressure. High cholesterol. Refused to take two pills a day. Against all the hypertensive crises she's had, she still maintained a diet of candy, potato chips, soda, and coffee until she finally suffered a stroke a few months ago. "Take care of your mother", family says. "Why wouldn't she give me a g*dd@mn break and do basic sh!t to take care of herself", I shreik inside of my head. No one sees while she was in good health: I suffered sexual abuse at the hands of family members, and she did nothing to protect me. I had to study up on it and fend for myself. I grew to need several major surgeries requiring extensive recovery time, and all requests for her to help me during those times were easily waved off with some dumb excuse. I think of all the major achievements I was able to secure, and not once was she ever there for any of it. No graduations. No honorary or recognition ceremonies. No public speaking events. "Look ma! I did it"! "Good! I need you to help me figure out my insurance. Call this number for me..." -or- "Mom, I know it's Thanksgiving, but I'm too tired to drive there. It may not be safe". "Oh, just make sure your doors are locked when you are driving. You'll be fine. See you in the morning". That's the standard dialog. To everyone else, she's sweet, considerate, and easy-going. To me, she's a bossy sponge. I love her, but I've tried so hard to maintain distance my entire life. The closer I am in proximity, the more she says from me. I worked hard through my own illnesses as an adult. Kept them to myself because I learned she would never care the way a mother could. Chronic pain for 6 years. I finally get out of that, made it through the depression, the PTSD got medically cleared, started a healthy routine that involved less of me tearing away from my life to help my mother and more focus on myself. My weight improved. I became stronger. I was staying hydrated, for Christ's sake. Then she has a stroke. Wouldn't call 911. She called me. Turned out she told family who tried to help at the time that she was waiting for me. That I knew what was going on, and would help when I got there. She chose ME over 911 to "save her". My life has been hijacked. I'm to suspend my little bit of progress to perform the duties of the husband she never secured. This while attempting to work. I don't want to lose my career. I've worked hard my entire life for this ONE thing that's my own. I dreamed of the position I have the entire time I was in graduate school. Now, it's hanging on a thread. My performance is questionable because I'm bombarded by HER needs. Monitoring HER meds. Taking her to HER appointments. Talking to HER doctors. Protecting HER. "Thank God she has you"! Who the hell do I have?!?! If I have to put her in a nursing home, that comes out of MY savings. Respite care, that's MY savings. "Good thing you didn't have to leave a family at home or even a husband". How can I ever find the time to establish those things if she always finds a way or reason to screw things up more? In the hospital, she was an ideal patient. She was a fall risk and SUPER PROMISED the staff she wouldn't get out of bed on her own. When she got home, she decides to get up alone at 1am. Didn't call my name for assistance or ring her assistant bell as she had for hospital staff for 2 months. She waited until after she fell. And guess who was blamed by her docs? And guess who sat there not taking any accountability? I want out. Suicide seems like an easy way out of the guilt and obligation. I am already simmering in hell. I hate waking up. "But she's so sweet..."

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777, About 911, you said 'I didn't know she was having a stroke.... I've tried the 911 route before and they were always false alarms'. It was just like The Boy Who Cried Wolf! The result was a consequence of HER OWN actions, not yours.

Big HUGS - take some time alone and away. Call a relative and say you have a appointment on whatever day, and they need to cover or find someone who can. The appt. is of course with yourself.

I am chiming in here about hearing loss and deafness.
My husband of 37 yrs lost his hearing in an accident when he was three or four. It damaged his eardrum and crushed the bone behind his ear. That bone is an important part of his hearing. Because he always wore a hearing aid it was assumed he heard. Nope, he explains that what he hears is static like a radio and turning his hearing aid up may help him distinguish the words. But believe me he misses usually the word that changes the whole meaning of the sentence. He has lost sound in the bad ear and the other maybe 20%.
People who are hard of hearing feel very isolated. Trying to carry on a conversation with a group of people is very hard. If we go out, I try to make it just one couple so it's more one to one. My husband can read lips but people losing hearing later in life Don't have this ability. Those who r born deaf are taught how to deal in a hearing world. A friend of mine was taught to talk at 2, which is the age most of us are verbal. A friend of hers came into the program to late to be taught. She of course signs. They are well adjusted, married with grandchildren. But when someone comes into deafness later, it can be depressing. Even though my husband has dealt with his problem for almost 70 yrs, he gets depressed. TG he was talking when his accident happened. Yes, I lose patience. Mainly because he assumes too much. Not so bad early on but now he misses too much to assume. One minute he tells me he Didn't hear something the next he swears I said something. Can't have it both ways. And...he is stubborn. Lately I have noticed he is hearing less. And he just had a check up. Not looking towards total deafness but it is coming.

Caretaker777; How are you? Anything new to report?

I get it - priorities! I was 60 before I started writing....


That's great! 

Just said how school takes up all my time if I'm not working. I'm presently getting A's, so you can understand all my concentration is going to that. I have a game plan, so the writing will have to wait.

Keep up the good work!

Ceecee, I wrote 20-30 minutes a day, about 5 days a week, and finished and published a 276 page book; then the sequel. Now am doing the third..... why don't you try that?

Hi Caretaker777,

I don't know if you've read my posts, but I am going through it too; the only difference is I had been feeling 'trapped' between both my paternal grandmother and mother; they'd act like a package deal when I'm around, and especially if I didn't speak up for myself which I have been in the last couple of years. And in your case, your mother is deaf which makes that harder. I understand something about the deaf population, because part of my job is to assist my supervisor with helping to get them employment. While the hearing impaired or deaf may receive more sympathy from the public, my firsthand experience has been that just about one after another has been very, very impatient even when looking to provide help. I only say this because I understand the frustration they go through in looking to communicate (I don't know ASL, but will write down everything) but everyone may not get that part for someone close in dealing with this type of abuse every day, not to mention all the other issues.

But listen, I noticed you like to write. I like to write as well; keep doing that because I'm sure you know that is a great outlet. Though I'm sorry you are going through all of this, I love the way you write. I could tell you are a writer and you can go far with this book of yours. I have over 100 pages of a novel myself...unfortunately, I put it down for awhile due to all that is going in my life...especially school, and so it is unpublished. But you have me thinking about it, for sure! :)

Caretaker, I relate to much of what you have written. My mom's docs would ignore everything I said. They wanted me conveniently there to handle things. They knew I understood medical terms, insurance claims, etc. Her sisters were very critical when I expressed displeasure over my situation. After my mom passed away one of her sisters and her daughter showed up uninvited at my home - 1300 miles away. My aunt wanted me to take care of her. She was 90 yrs old. Her daughter said "you took good care of your Mom and you have plenty of money. I said no and sent them on their way. Again, I was criticized by the family. I've got my own life.

Barb is right. Go home to your life you've worked so hard to establish.

We, however, can tell you that for the sake of your mental and physical health, you need to leave.

I'm so happy you're talking to us, sorry I haven't been around earlier today.

How long do you expect this latest "acute" phase to go on? - based on your experience of earlier acute phases, for example.

They're not taking you seriously, are they. Seems to be a bit of a pattern. Well, it needn't matter - as long as you do.

Supposing, I don't know, and God forbid, but something happened that took you out of action for several weeks - you broke both legs, you were in an induced coma, the classic alien abduction scenario, whatever. What's the back-up system for mother's life support?

I am reading, as it happens, a book I've been meaning to get round to for ages; it's called "Wilful Blindness" and it's by a lady called Margaret Heffernan. It is even better than I thought it would be when I first heard her on the radio discussing her subject. I haven't yet but I will soon be telling everyone I know to read it and pay attention.

The chapter I'm on at the moment - 'The Cult of Cultures' - examines belonging and dissent. Just taking a sentence more or less at random: "Enemies and outsiders tend to be demonised and dissenters are subjected to immense pressure to conform. Dissent is rare and difficult because self-censorship mostly expunges it and because consensus and unity are deemed the ultimate good."

Earlier in the chapter, Ms Heffernan described experiments using MRI scans on subjects choosing objects that matched, and what happened when the subjects were a) required to pick their own; b) told what everyone else in their group had picked; and c) told what the computer had picked.

Long and disturbing story short: the desire to conform is not only a matter of social conditioning. Not conforming makes your brain hurt. Not supporting the accepted version is painful. It is amazing what your brain can exclude if everyone else does.

Your whole social group admires your and your mother's set up. It's marvellous! They won't be beaten! They're fantastic. Look at all you've achieved! Isn't that incredible! Haven't you proved what a brilliant team you both make!

How much do you suppose they want to hear the reality of what you've been through?

Your mother's nurses and therapists are not yours. You are not their patient. Your mother is. Do you think they want you rocking their patient's boat? Unless your illness or injury pose a threat in some way to your mother, they ethically and culturally can't encourage you to withdraw - plus, they don't *want* to. It would cause trouble and difficulty. They are not the people for you to turn to.

You say your own therapist is ready to throw in the towel, did I understand that right?

You have no obligation to stay.
If you didn't exist, would they have discharged her home?

The fact that your mom has complex medical issues does not equate to " adult child must give up job and life".

Learn to say "I can't possibly do that" with conviction.  Don't show up for her next 

Barb. She was discharged to her home for in-home care. However, her nurse and therapists dont stay long. Her case is complex and involves a team of 6-7 docs in diff. Disciplines. And they all expect me to fill in allllllll of the hours in between. Telling them how I fear this is affecting my health and sanity means nothing. They just superficially wince and say "it hard, isn't it". Conversations with them are degradingly circular.

To endorse what Becky said, whether or not you are involved in your mother's life, you have no obligation to fund her care. That gets paid for with Mother's funds, or by Medicaid if she becomes empoverished.

If you look on this site, there is a bar labelled "paying for care" that has lots of useful information.

The reason you, nor any child is obligated to pay for care is that there is a safety net for elders who are both medically and financially at need of full time care.

If instead of using that means, you fund mom's care yourself, there is no safety net that's going to support you while you get back on your feet after caregiving full time. 
We've had many sad stories on this board of former caregivers, kicked out of parental home/apartment when their parent dies, their savings gone and no hope of regaining a well paying job.

Don't do that!

Hoping you are okay for tonight?.

Prepare to leave.

Call the local Area Agency on Aging Monday AM and arrange for a needs assessment.

Is your mother capable of living alone?  That needs to be assessed. If she is not, care needs to be arranged, but not necessarily by you.  Was mom's
 ability to live alone assessed at discharge?

Are you her power of attorney? Are you going to continue that responsibility, or do you wish to resign it?

There are no " have to's" here.  Unless you have been appointed her guardian in court, you have zero responsibility to you mother.  If you said you'd
 live with her during acute rehab, you of course don't want to abandon her, but you  need to plan to return home in short order.

If mom is technically competent and capable of living alone, leave.

Once you're gone:
Change your phone number or simply block the calls of the folks you no longer need to talk to.
Stop communicating with this group of loonies.  Living well is the best revenge.

You're not the "black sheep". You're the one who got away.
I get that " just leaving"  is never easy. But you don't have kids she's holding hostage. It doesn't sound like you're dependent upon her for moneetary support.

What's holding you in place seems got be the dream that the next time you show up for her, she'll tell  you what a wonderful daughter you are. Hope springs eternal, right?

Stop fulfilling her expectations of servitude. Live your life.

Caretaker, take some time to read these posts by DesperateInFl. She faced a dissimilar situation, but one with similarities in that she was expected to accommodate her MIL, under assumptions that she literally was going to become the woman's private caregiver and subordinate her own life. She refused to allow family to determine her life for her. She posted here, got excellent advice, and challenged the family.

The last post is an update on how she stood her ground, yet still accommodated the MIL's needs. She's a fighter, and an inspiration!

and the most recent:

Note how she has managed to survive, and make changes, in an environment in which she was expected to just literally give up her own life.

Next time an abuser comes with other family so you don't create a scene, created a scene, tell them with their protectors why they can go the he'll away or take care of your mom because you are leaving. I was abused as a child, not protected and called a liar, I personally don't give a squat what any of my family thinks of me, I too am the black sheep and you know what I have to say about that? Baabaaa, because I am quite happy to not live in the screwed up world they do that makes abuse okay and success an affront to them. Family does not need to be blood, it is people we love and that love us, healthy, caring relationships, no one I call family shares blood with me, those people are part of my past.

Suicide never solves anything, please stop believing what these nutty quacks have made you feel about yourself. Go be a huge success and never put yourself in their crosshairs again. They suck and will never tell you good job, well done or any other positive thing, who cares, I used to tell my "family" "I've been called worse by better people then you" this was my finger in their face, now I don't have to find ways to show or tell them that there was nothing left of me for them to hurt, I chose to move to a different state and have a life. It was hard and scary, lonely at first, now, I have a beautiful husband and a wonderful life, that is the best revenge. My dad called me for help, I helped get him medical treatment and an AL, that was all I had to offer him, guilt-a little, but I'm not giving anything that can hurt me, period.

If I can do it, so can you. Stop right now and tell yourself you do not have to accept one more tiny bit of abuse, manipulation, bad mouthing or any other inappropriate unacceptable behavior ever again.


You can go home soon.
I have read before on this site, that caregivers may be responsible for getting care for their loved one, but not responsible for doing the hands on care. If need be, call APS telling them you are having a crisis of your own, and can no longer care for your Mom yourself. You have your own diagnosis to take care of.

They will be able to assess the situation, find or refer you to resources.
Call them anytime.

Do not pay for your mother's care in any way. It is not your responsibility. Do not put your own financial future at risk. Put yourself first in all ways, so that you can take back your life.

She's in a rehab facility? In other words, she is not currently relying on you for care?

So, this is the moment at which you become permanently unavailable. You pack up and go back to your place, block her calls and texts.

Is there a reason that's not possible? Do you think you owe someone an explanation?

Hi, Barb: I actually live out of state. I still have my place, but I'm staying with her temporarily during the 'acute rehab' stage. I hope that I can go home soon. I truly do.

Thank you for your reply. I'll research new therapists who specialize in DBT tonight.

These waters are scary. I don't know how you guys do it, but I'm hoping to learn.

So the way I'm read  your posts, you live with mom or she with you. Which is it? It makes a huge difference.

Have you ever watched the movie, Now, Voyage? Your story reminds me of that script, which is prescriptive.

You need to say " no mom, I can't possibly do that " , and mean it.
You need to move on with your life and figure out how to get your own space. Homeless shelter? Yes, preferable to the cell you're living I now.

You of course need a therapist, possibly one trained in DBT.

I hope you can navigate this all, successfully. I believe you can ,

Do you live with your mother?

If you do, are you figuring out how to get your own living place?


Glad you’re back with us!

I just want to touch on something briefly. You’ve got a lot going on but the least of your worries should be funding your Mom’s care.

If your Mom doesn’t have funds to cover Nursing Home Care it is not your responsibility to drain your funds to support her care.

A Nursing Home Social Worker can assist with getting your Mom eligible for LTC Medicaid. Should Mom have any funds those are spent first, private pay. As those deplete LTC Medicaid is applied for.

If Mom needs to be in a Nursing Home you DO NOT pay for it.

Beautiful, wonderful Private Pay only Nursing Homes may not have the best staff.

Myself and others on this site have found for whatever reason, sometimes the not so bright and cheerful Nursing Homes have excellent staff.

Please don’t let your relatives bully you into not placing your Mom or insisting she only be placed in a self pay facility, one that you pay for.

If they have a ridiculous opinion on the matter, let them write the checks to the facility...out of their personal checking account.

I hope you are feeling a little better.

Just a thought....caregiver variations on Stockholm Syndrome. Not the same type of confinement, but certainly an emotional battering that subdues the victim.


You are not responsible for her hearing loss or for her need for an interpreter.
You are not responsible if she doesn't take her pills or if she won't call 911.
You aren't responsible to see that she eats a balanced diet or for paying her way in a nursing home (sign her up for Medicaid).
You aren't responsible for always being "the good daughter" or for living up to an unreasonable image.

She has you emotionally handcuffed to her. But YOU have control of YOUR LIFE, not her. You need to learn how to make your life "yours".
You mother is an abuser of the wonderful gift of your time and assistance. She's a taker but not a giver. You are there to serve her needs. You know what they call people like your mother? Narcissistic. Many of us have/had mothers like you do. We have suffered abuse at their hand, as you have.

Many, like you, have become emotionally whipped from the treatment from their mothers. These mothers are emotionally unstable people. That is why she didn't protect you when you were abused. They are too into themselves and not in tune with other's needs.

But, it doesn't have to be that way any more. You need to reclaim your life. Your mother is a toxin to you right now. You need to separate yourself from her (as I did my dad) to start to heal. You also need professional help (therapy) to help you sort and straight things out. I did.

Right now you have to learn to love yourself. You need to develop YOUR life. It is NOT tied to hers. It's independent and needs to be cultivated without her sucking you dry.

Look at it this way, your suicide plan will only be a distraction. She will not be hurt by your actions. She will find another willing participant to use to gain what she wants. And you will have lost the chance to have a life of your own. Fight to take back your life. You've got a lot of great experiences ahead IF you take time to help yourself. LIVE the life God gave you. And, if it means excluding her, then that's what you've got to do. You are not a puppet.

You don't need to try to please her either. There is no pleasing or getting praise from narcissistic people. You have to learn to give yourself the pat on the back. The only thing narcissists will give you is a poor self image. It keeps you "in line" and always trying to win their favor, which they never give.

Call the suicide prevention hotline 1-800-273-8255. Don't let this ruin the rest of your life. You matter to us.

Thanks for your replies everyone. I'm here. Just a little robotic. Your care in reading my post coupled with your replies has my eyes stinging with tears that I can't let fall right now. One of my abusers came by to visit my mom this morning. This has happened several times since her hospitalization. These jerks show up with other family members so that I cannot make a scene, and I step aside to let them all in... which feels like another assault. Assault after assault. Steamroll after steamroll. Doormatting for a situation that isn't mine.

So I'm trying to distract myself from myself, while remembering myself, only to see how these vampires have the convenience of coming and going as they please.

My soul at this point literally feels raped and left for dead. Every resurrection thwarted.

As for my mom not calling 911... I didn't know she was having a stroke. She said it was sinus trouble. She also said she sounded tired. She DID say she needed to go to the hospital, but I had no way of knowing what was happening. I've tried the 911 route before and they were always false alarms. Now I'm passively berated by practitioners who don't know her history. "Why didn't YOU call 911"? I honestly wish I had.

I'm also the black sheep of the family. While in undergrad, I confronted a family member after an attempted assault. I told other family members whom I thought were kind and supportive. They turned on me instantly. Said I "came onto him, was rejected, and made up stories to be spiteful". This is because I'm apparently an 'exotic' siren who has exhausted the non-familial population or wants to keep the bloodline pure (that's sarcasm. I'm not completely gone....). The family who DO believe me have chosen to abandon me as well. My confrontational approach and mere existence is a reminder of their imperfections. It's cleaner for all of them to just stay away, I guess. They have also been openly venomous over my achievements, notoriety, and professional standing. I wasn't supposed to be much coming from a deaf mother. They are quick to remind me of this if I am ever published or someone familiar with my work mentions it to them.

I have done a poor job of this lifetime. I've enabled the groomers who have enabled the mother that I am enabling.

Answers to few other things:
-I live in the States
-my mother is outpatient now
-I DO have a therapist, but I think the retraumatizing is getting to her now.
-I have voiced how much I want to take the easy way out. It was ignored.
-I can't shower or eat reliably. Which makes me feel worse. When I try to carve out that time, something happens.

Thank you, Countrymouse. For everything. I will reach out to you soon.

Everyone's responses are ... Just wow... It is a positive thing to hear from you all, far and wide. It also helped me to identify some of the emotions Ive put aside. I'll be reading throughout the day... Digesting... Composing...

Hi Caretaker777,
Caregiving is a long difficult road, and we're happy you have found the support of others here on this site. I hope you have found some comfort and answers in the many posts that have reached out to you here.
However, there are limits to what untrained members on our site can provide for you.
Please reach out to experts for additional support and the help you need 24 hours a day at the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline:
Call 1-800-273-8255

There are 3 ways you can prevent her from falling.

1. Stay awake all night, sit by her bed and watch her sleep, making sure you are awake and ready to help her up when she decides to get up in the middle of the night.

2.Sedate and use restraints so she cannot get up and fall

3. Get a hospital bed that lowers all the way to the floor and make sure there is nothing around for her to use to pull herself up. I doubt she can get herself up from a mattress that is practically on the floor. They use these in NHs for patients who are a high fall risk as restraints are illegal in NHs.

Your phone is broken today. Sorry it was impossible to receive ANY phone calls on this lovely Saturday, your day off from e v e r y t h i n g .

What is your graduate degree in? It is not uncommon for someone highly intelligent, with degrees on the wall, to not be able to figure out the basic survival skills of life at times.
Others can help you with that, it is not even noon on the West Coast of U.S.A.

Are you in the U.S.A.? Isn't it interesting to you that you have already recieved some real caring from strangers in other countries, such as the UK, Canada, and other places.
You have got to appreciate that, whether you have sun today, or not.

There is also a Lyrid Meteor shower peaking on Sunday-I think just before dawn and/or just past midnight.

Happy Earth Day 2018.!!

Have you washed your face, and made your bed? Do you have enough kleenex on hand to last this weekend?

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