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Well, after a crazy spring and summer where my mom repeatedly told me she would no longer be in contact with me anymore or she would find (and then said she did) someone to take her shopping, now she has called me and informed me that I need to find a day to set several hours aside so I can take her for "a bit" of shopping.
I ask what she needs (maybe I can grab a loaf of bread and some eggs at the store?) and she's mum about it. (This means probably that she wants cigarettes, which, along with her own reflection, are her two great loves in life.)
I'm annoyed because I can't stand dealing with this woman. Every call she makes turns into an occasion to tell me how mean or how ungrateful I am, this or that thing that I did wrong, or how she had to do EVERYTHING on her own (except for when she needs me to take her somewhere or fix something for her ...), or how awful my dad was, or she makes digs at my weight (like it's a good idea to not lose weight, because you can use the fat to get you through the hard times that are ahead. Really? Lovely!)
I am so tired of dealing with her. There is no civility here and I have a hard time controlling myself while talking to her, and afterwards I feel drained and sick as a dog. I want to reason with her but can't, and yet each time I talk to her I feel like I'm sinking into new emotional lows.
I had such high hopes she'd be taking a cab now and then and now, I'm supposed to just take time off work (because it MUST be done during a weekday) to bend to her will. I told her I would pick her up Thursday and drop her off at a grocery store and get her in a couple hours because I don't feel like following her around Kroger for three hours while she stares in fascination at packages of kielbasa and frozen fish!
I don't know what I want here, but to vent, I guess. I just honestly want nothing to do with this woman anymore. There is no pleasant chat about the weather. Striking up a conversation about the past is just a chance for her to relive old grievances. On top of that she's half-deaf and says inappropriate, sexist or racist things.
I'm just tired of it. And her calling with this attitude that I owe her an unpaid day off to cart her around so she can buy cigarettes and bacon just infuriates me all the more!
She cut me out of her life by telling me not to call her or visit her, changes her keys so I can't even check on her if she doesn't answer her phone or door, and changes her bank information so I can't even use the extra debit card I used to have to go pick up her medicines and so on (my husband got laid off a year ago and my income has gone down since I was laid off -- but found another job, fortunately --so I can't exactly afford to buy her stuff anymore, and I can't afford to take time off work.)
So again, I'm just tired of dealing with her and want to vent. I believe in respecting the elderly and all that but what about when your mom expects you to be her beck-and-call and verbal whipping post?

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What I owe my mother.

This comes up A LOT. It's the source of a lot of really unproductive feelings that drag people down into a pit. Especially when trying to caregive someone who only engagees in transactional relationships (like a narcissist or borderline personality).

I am a mother myself. I don't consider that my children owe me for their raising. They are teenagers & they are expected to contribute to the household now. I'm not keeping a tally for 30 years down the road. They don't owe me. I do what I do out of love and because these children are my responsibility. Once they are grown up and been released into the world, I have done what I can to make them good and useful. All I can do at that point is love them and wait for grandbabies or grandpuppies or whatever. As long as they are truly happy.

What do I owe my mother? Not a dadgum thing. I am doing what I do for her out of a sense of mercy because she has run off every other human being on this planet who might have cared for her. I won't have two red pennies to rub together out of this. There is no inheritance to justify all the hours of my time, effort, anxiety, upset, & worry. Was she loving - probably in her own stunted maladjusted way. Doesn't matter. The act of caring, or not caring is not about settling some kind of big cosmic debt so it all comes out even. It can't come out even.

If anything, I prefer to pay it forward and invest in my kids, to teach them how to be great friends, great spouses, great employees, and hopefully mostly competent parents!

If my kids have awesome jobs and families on the other side of the world and can't be here for my old age, I do NOT want them to feel guilty or obligated. I will not demand or expect them to uproot or turn down opportunity and come deal with me. Would it be nice? Sure. But sometimes life has other plans and we deal with what we get.
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Kazzaa, I have to laugh about the year's supply. I've had that thought. My mom is a big hoarder in her ways. Often she buys $300 or more worth of groceries at once. She doesn't live with my husband and me, though. We couldn't handle that even if our house was six times its size. When she used to visit me when I lived out of state and she could drive she'd smoke up my apartment and redecorate because my taste wasn't hers so it was wrong. She never leaves her apartment or house (wherever she is) and I work at home so we really couldn't have her live with us.
My mom used to be sweet when I was a very small child, but she divorced my dad when I was seven and since then it's been ups and downs. Since then she's belittled him even though he's now been dead for 25 years and complains about the whole family. She can't be happy about anyone or kind about anyone either. If someone wins the lottery she'll say "they're too fat" or "it's a shame someone so ugly or dumb-looking won." If someone has cancer, she rolls her eyes and says, "big deal." Part of it is her rough childhood, but it's just a shame she's decided to see the bad in everyone and everything. I feel like I owe her, since she's my mom, some kindness and respect, but I honestly can't think of the last time she's shown it to me. Even if she were to give me $10 for gas, I would never hear the end of it. It's never simply a gesture; it's insurance or blackmail or some fuel for later insults. "I gave you some money for gas and I offered to buy you a hamburger, so you owe me undying gratitude for my kindness." Because that's the way to breed good feelings! (Not!)
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Ha FF i dont have kids but yes "stocking up" is so important with dementia parents i always have lots of food, snacks, bread, butter, tea OR ill be accused of abuse and neglect!!! She used to tell my brother "theres no food here" Oh no you dont youre not getting me on that one!! so yes stocking up is saving your a** from false accusations basically! see we can be as sneaky as them sometimes just keep one step ahead of them so they cant lie! Its great fun really? honestly? once you get as clever and manipulative as them youre THERE easy peeszy!
Havnt spoken to mum in a few days she went into town with Brother and yes i was right she bought me a top I just happened to admire last week?? But hey dont think youre lucky this is what she does then shell throw a huge "tantrum" and rant "afterall the stuff ive bought you".

Anywhoo ive just got my first pair of glasses for reading and im finding it hard to get used to them i got up and walked into the door huge bump on my head so yes i must realise "reading glasses" i forget im wearing them then oops! I feel OLD!!
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Kazzaa, I had to chuckle about getting enough food and cigarettes for a year, and call in 2015 when you run out.... LOL.

I tend to stock up for myself whenever something is one sale and has a long shelf life. But not my Mom, she will order 2 cans of a sale product.... since I have taken over her grocery buying, I will order 6 cans as my parents can afford it, and have room to store those cans :)
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Poor you! i think i would buy her enough cigarettes and food for a year and ask her to call you in 2015 when shes run out!

I dont know do you live with her? i always thought if i had a job i could escape her for a few hours but by the sounds of things on here theres no "refuge" right now I love my baths am tempted to have 2 a day just to HIDE OUT!!

Mum is not as bad as yours she does drag up her miserable life and past every second of everyday BUT i have to say she was never abusive towards me until I became her carer and she got dementia so i let that abuse go as her "madness" its the digging up her past and yes still what a sh*t dad was R.I.P dad gosh i hope he is at peace sometimes i envy him!
Mum is so negative that she even "hates" to see someone win the lottery?? so sad to be so bitter and unhappy but we cant fix it just deep breaths and tell ourselves "im NEVER going to end up like this" GULP!
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I could spend a whole day walking around at a festival on a hot day or do yard work for hours and I swear I have never felt the exhaustion that I feel taking my mom shopping.
And the shopping did not happen because she took a tumble and hurt her arm, so she just wanted me to come over asap to get her cigarettes because she couldn't roll them in her machine. I did it for her and then told her to call me if she wants to go to the doctor for her arm ("I'm not spending another dime at the doctor's") and wished her a good day.
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I used to take my mother on weekly shopping expeditions to Bed Bath and Beyond when she lived in IL. They were fac in a ting and utterly exhausting.
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And everyone, yes I said I was venting, but I love reading all your stories and advice. It's such a help to know others have their own stories and advice to share.
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This one-stop plan sounds like a winner. My mom actually worked at a nursing home for a few years and the activities director would plan an outing to one spot. "We're going to this store for two hours ..." and so on. I actually plan to pick my mom up at 10 a.m. tomorrow and drop her off at a grocery store where she gets her prescriptions filled and her bank is in there, too, so it's a three-in-one stop. I'm going to tell her I'll pick her up in 2 hours so she has time to get it all done. She can get her cigarettes and everything in there as far as I'm concerned. Thank you all for letting me complain and giving me some direction and ideas.
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Parents drive us all batty, and we definitely have to draw boundaries. For example, I would not jeopardize my job or my income, to do something on a weekday that can be done on a weekend.
You are never going to be best buddies with your mom, but according to your profile she has dementia. Try to not let her get on your nerves.
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LOL FreqFlyer. I bought my mom some deluxe mixed nuts and she picked out all of the pistachios because they "looked funny". Thankfully she saved them for me, I love them! She doesn't like raspberries, because "her mother didn't grow them in her garden" when my mom was growing up. Never mind mom left home at 18 and has lived away from her mother's garden for 76 freakin' years!!

Our parents can definitely drive us up the wall if we let them with their set ways.
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blannie, eventually I gave up trying to get my own shopping done at the same time. My parents never could understand why I had to go back to the next day to do my own shopping.... duh.

Then I tried getting a grocery list from my Mom, and go to the grocery store along with my own list.... that was a nightmare having two separate orders in one cart and trying to figure which grocery bags were theirs and which were mine. That was too exhausting mentally and physically, lifting all those heavy bags. I'm too old for this.

Along comes on-line grocery shopping.... YES.... I love it, but my Mom isn't crazy about it because the service doesn't have everything she normally uses.... and no, she can't try anything new and different.... and the bananas "taste funny".... [rolling eyes].

Are these our golden years???
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Heidi73, you said you just needed to vent. I guess the responses show that it is very difficult for caregivers to restrain themselves from offering help. I know I can't! :)

In my opinion, your mother does not deserve a day a week from you. Two hours a week? Maybe ... but only if she honors boundaries you set. How likely would it be that she'd be out of pills or food? I mean, really, a woman this self-focused having no food and no way to get it? Get real! What you call "worry" is simply a response to the guilt buttons she installed and is expert at pushing.

I want to echo blannie's first post here. Walk away from this toxic relationship. Respecting someone just because they are old is a pretty feeble philosophy. Love this woman who raised you, but do it from a safe distance. Easy? O, I don't think so, not with all the guilt buttons! So get yourself some counseling, to help you protect yourself.
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FreqFlyer your post made me laugh. I used to take both parents out (dad in a companion chair and mom with her walker). It was so exhausting just to try to wrangle them. Or when I'd take mom out when she was still using her walker, I could never do my shopping, as it was too much work to manage her and her stuff while trying to get my stuff. I was stressed enough getting her in and out.

When my brother would visit from out-of-state, I'd try to get him to just take my mom out somewhere and she'd always say to him, "Oh that's too much trouble, you don't need to take me anywhere." GRRRRRR! I'd tell him to insist, but he never would (I wonder why, LOL!). So he never got to experience even a half of what I had to deal with. Now I don't have to worry because he hasn't visited here in four years.
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Pam you are so right about only going to one store. My parents tried that with me, after an hour in a big box store, Dad will mention let's go to the bank. "Sorry, Dad, I am exhausted."

Dad doesn't understand how tiring it is shopping with Mom in the grocery section of a big box store, reaching for this, bending down for that, re-stocking shelves as Mom puts stuff back.... trying to get my own shopping done at the same time.... then when Mom is through, I set her down on a bench then I go looking for Dad who wandered off with his own cart because grocery shopping is boring.... no kidding, Dad :P.... and it is usually 2 or 3 trips around the big store before I find Dad.... I lead him over to where Mom was sitting... I say *was* because Mom got worried about Dad and she wandered off to look for him. And Dad wonders why I am exhausted after shopping.... [sigh]
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Give her one day a week. You pick the day that works for you. If you get there and she is complaining and nagging, tell her you have to go, and get up immediately and leave. Deprive her of her audience.
If she wants to go for groceries, go there and back to her house. Don't let her tack on 3 or 4 more stops. We have found that the nagging starts after one hour of contact, so we limit the visits, and if her diatribes start after 20 minutes, that's when you have to go . She will catch on, believe me.
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"I couldn't possibly take a day off right now".
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Another thing that can be at play is the whole getting you to jump because they can. I took a day off to shop for clothes with Mom, only to get to the store and have her fairly disinterested in looking. After covering a fair bit of the mall, I finally asked why we were there if she didn't want to look. She shrugged...once again, it was about getting me to jump only to be disinterested once I jumped.

And when you get on one of those calls, it's really ok to tell her you need to go and end the call. You can't let this dynamic make you sick.
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Time for a break somehow maybe? I know it's not as easy as it sounds, but your mom sounds just like my mom and I ask myself daily - What would happen to her if I got hit by a bus tomorrow??? My point being, if you weren't there, either she would need to step up for herself or she would need to find community resources for assistance. I understand about the guilt of not being there for one's own mother, but how much is she really being there for her child. This is your life - yes, she is your mother, but you deserve to be happy.
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Heidi73, your Mom shopping experiences is so similar to my parents. I use to take Dad to the hardware store but I had to stop doing that because I couldn't roam around the store for 2 hours and Dad only buying one package of light bulbs and a tube of Epoxy. And taking Mom grocery shopping... I felt like I was a store employee re-shelving the products that she would take down to get a closer look, and then didn't want.

My parents were use to going shopping 2 or 3 times a day back when Dad was driving. Sorry, that's not going to happen anymore, as I am still employed and will no longer take vacations days or sick days so they could shop. Doctor appointments, I have no problem with doing.

Any time my parents grumble about not shopping, I gently remind them that if they had moved into that grand retire community down the road, they could go shopping every single day as the community offers transportation.
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Good ideas. My husband said that, too, Blannie, about honoring your mother and father, and in this case mother says to leave her alone.
I can't get a straight answer out of this woman, either. She says she has a neighbor giving her rides or gets a taxi and then makes it sound like she's desperate. Maybe I'm worried she'll be out of pills or food so I worry in that respect. I wouldn't want to be all alone in that boat, so I cave, but she sees me as a sucker or a slave to do her will instead of someone trying to be nice.
Then she contradicts herself. She says her pharmacy delivers her medications, and yet she says I need to take her there. (I suspect she wants to argue with the pharmacist in person since she thinks the Kroger pharmacy in her neighborhood is owned by Arabs who are screwing her over somehow.) And so it goes!
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How about "It's not possible for me to take off a day from work, but I can take you shopping on Saturday". If that doesn't work for her, then she'll need to figure out Plan B.
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When she cut you out of her life, it was your opportunity to step away from this toxic relationship. I think we should honor and respect our parents if they honor and respect us in return. Why do you owe your mom a shopping trip, when all she does is berate and belittle you? Walk away and don't look back. She's a survivor, so she'll find someone else to use.

And get some counseling so you don't feel guilty or obligated to continue in this one-sided toxic relationship. Walk away. Just say, "I'm sorry mom, I can't do that." Or don't take her calls. It's as simple as that. Hugs to you and what you've had to put up with.
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