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My father is a narcissist & my mother largely ignored me because her life was miserable opting instead to cling to my younger brother well into his adulthood. We are 18 months apart. I cut ties with my abusive father, prompting my mother to file divorse at 72 shortly after. My childhood was vapid & fake, sprinkled with just enough "just ignore it" and "look at our perfect family" to turn me depressed and anxious. My mothers decision to leave was surprising but welcome! She had already been struggling through chemo and MANY health problems and as a HC professional I could help. I have ways found her lack of common sense frustrating as she makes very poor decisions but now on her own I feel it is so much worse.



She is frail, in very poor health (multiple surgeries and constant issues with chemo meds) and constantly loosing money to people, getting over her head & giving me anxiety. I want her to live her own life but I also feel responsible to keep her alive to keep her living it! I want my young kids to spemd time with her.



I call her almost daily. A few times now she has just up and gone AWOL (at terribly bad times)! After days of trying to frantically find her she would call with some silly excuse. It makes me irrate but she keeps doing it like it's not a big deal!



She makes very poor choices in regards to her health and safety, consistantly, and I jump to panic when I dont hear from her. She has a serious infection, just got out of hospital for possible DVT (luckily it was not) is in the middle of chemo treatments and decided to fly up and away for the 4th of July with her sister, that does not take her health seriously AT ALL. I didn't hear from her all day from 8am until 11pm, when she finally called me back to tell me she was just having too much fun. I called several times and sent texts throughout the day, finally at 7 and 8pm telling her I was starting to get very worried.



I know she is an adult but I feel like a mother of a wild teen! I have let her make mistakes. Costly ones. I grit my teeth and play nice for my kids. I dont have a normal loving bond with her but rather a sense of obligation since she is now on her own. My brother is no help and moved far away - although I wish she would move closer to him I know it would hurt my kids who have formed a bond with her. One I never had, because I MADE it happen! I grew up without extended family and wanted more for my kids.



Recently I have started to wonder if I am trying too hard. It doesnt seem to be noticed. I am terrified she will wind up dead! She makes me mad but she is my mom. She doesnt want to talk about any of it and acts like it she is invincible. Do I need to back off and let go of these reigns I feel I have on her for her own safety? I am not worried for NO reason but the hovering is causing me ulsers.



Is this normal??? Should I be mad at her or just accept maybe she doesnt want any help?



She currently has some random "nice" young gal she just met at church (in financial trouble) house-sitting for her while she is away. My jaw dropped when she told me. This is another developing ulcer. Its a revolving door of ulsers.

We see this behavior on this forum far too often of children that were abused by either or both parents that so desperately seek out the love they never received as children and now believe that if they jump through enough hoops for said parent(s) that they will once and for all receive it.
And yes my dear...you are one of those abused children, and I'm here to tell you that try as you might, you will never receive what you are so desperately seeking from your mom or your dad matter of fact.
So please let your mom live the life she has chosen and made for herself, and let her suffer the consequences of her bad choices.
There is nothing you can do about it, and it's obviously taking its toll on you physically, so just stop the nonsense already. And yes step away.
Your mom has made her bed and now she gets to lie in it. You must come to terms with that for your own mental health's sake.
I do hope that you are in therapy and are working though your issues so you can once again be healthy and whole.
Helpful Answer (16)
Reply to funkygrandma59
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My MIL, although a nice, sweet person, made incredibly stupid choices. She'd make the same mistakes over and over and then be confused as to why it didn't work out and then remorseful about it. We never understood it, couldn't figure it out. We decided to chalk it up to low IQ. Honestly, we couldn't come up with any other explanation. She held a job and had friends. Had a husband (a jerk).

Your Mom though, seems to be mentally ill. And you seem to have a dysfunctional co-dependent relationship with her. You've been groomed. You may also have "Rescuer" syndrome. Please consider therapy so you can identify and defend healthy boundaries. Your Mom obviously doesn't care how her actions impact you. You can't make her care. You don't have any control over this situation. When things get "bad enough" and she actually really asks for your help (rather than you pushing it upon her) then you can contact social services for her county or report her to APS and allow a judge to assign her a legal guardian so that she'll get the care she needs and you don't have to be involved with it any more. Or, the next time she has to go to the ER you tell them she's an unsafe discharge or requires a social admit and hopefully no one will take her back to her house. But... if she does go back, you'll need to remember your ulcer, your mental health, your boundaries and the fact that you don't have any control -- nor should you.

May you receive clarity, strength, courage, wisdom and peace in your heart as you make yourself a priority.
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Reply to Geaton777
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YaYa79 Jul 3, 2024
Well said.
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Yes, you are trying too hard. Way too hard and you have become what JoAnn in the comments has rightly said. You are a 'helicopter' mom.
You are not her mother and your mother is not a crazed teen. She is a grown adult and can do what pleases her.

If you are concerned that she is not in her right mind, make a call to APS and report her as a vulnerable adult. Or ask the police in her area to do wellness checks on her.

Other than that, she can do whatever she pleases and does not have to answer to you.

I come from an abusive backround myself. Try getting yourself into therapy to help work through your abusive past with your family.
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Reply to BurntCaregiver
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You don't owe your mother anything at all. Your mother has a mental illness. You cannot allow her to ruin your life.

Start by only contacting her twice a week. You owe her absolutely no explanation as to why you have changed the frequency of your phone calls.

Protect yourself at all costs even if this means going no contact with her.
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Reply to Paulachris
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Yes, it is time to let go.

Your mother will never be the mum you wanted and needed. You need to be the mum you never had to your children. And to yourself.

Yes, be a mum to yourself. You need to be kind to yourself, you need to give yourself a break, and you need to love yourself unconditionally.

You can't change the way your mum is, so stop trying. You cannot be her safety net and you cannot be there to constantly pick up the pieces.

By that, I don't mean that you shouldn't ever be there for your mum when she needs you, but that you can't fix everything for her. You're not Superwoman and it's not your job to make everything right.

It won't be easy to let go, but you need to do it for your own wellbeing and for your family. How can you be there for them if your digging your own grave worrying about your mum?

Listen to what you're telling yourself in your post: "my mother largely ignored me"; "after days of trying to frantically find her she would call with some silly excuse"; "constantly loosing money to people, getting over her head & giving me anxiety"; "she finally called me back to tell me she was just having too much fun". Does this sound as if your mum is thinking about how her behaviour affects you? No? Then stop trying to save her; she doesn't want to be saved.

You say, "I have let her make mistakes". No, you haven't. She's an adult and you have no control over what she does.

Then there's this: "I dont have a normal loving bond with her". Followed by: "I wanted more for my kids". Exactly. You care about your children and how they'll be affected. Well, what do you think would affect them worse - something bad happening to your mum (out of your control), or you getting ill, physically or mentally, from worrying about and trying to change your mum? I think they'd be more upset by something happening to their own mum.

So, please prioritise yourself and your own family. Let go of fretting about your mum.
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Reply to MiaMoor
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If she’s competent, nothing you can do .
Does she at least have POA papers in place should she need you ?

So many of us had very needy miserable mothers in their old age who weren’t trying to enjoy the last years of their life .

I say good for your mom , let her be , she’s living her life the way she wants finally after divorcing . She sounds happy.
She doesn’t want help yet.
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Reply to waytomisery
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Let it go. Let mom live her life on her terms. Just remember it is not your job to bail mom out financially, etc if she crashes and burns. She is old enough to do what she wants and live how she wants. And yes she may wind up dead sooner rather than later BUT she is 72 and will die eventually. Better for her to die living life than play it safe and possibly live longer being miserable and scared.
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Reply to sp196902
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Your mother is able to move about, travel, make her own decisions.

Don't be mad. Be happy about that and release her.
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Reply to southiebella
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Sierramikewhisk Jul 9, 2024
While yes, I totally agree- she has been doing those things - IMHO I don’t think she’s in her right mind & able to think about the decisions she’s making.

Chemo has a nasty habit of messing with the brain. (21 yrs later and I still have brain fog & both short & long term memory loss) I was 32 when I was diagnosed with breast cancer and so I am not old enough to be suffering from elderly forgetfulness. I have been tested multiple times for early dementia/Alzheimer’s with negative results.
anyways, add the chemo to her age & past mental health issues (basing that on OPs post) my guess is she’s unable to make healthy & safe decisions for herself.

I am wondering if OP can get a competency evaluation for her mom so that they can give her a POA to have mom put in a facility?

I hate to be harsh about it (possibly a side effect of my current dealings with my dad) but if she can get mom placed in a facility, she will solve a bunch of problems. The main one being that she won’t need to keep paying the mental consequences of her mom’s actions.
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Your like a helicopter Mom. Just let Mom live her life. If she has had cancer more than once, she will have it again. She may not live to a ripe old age. You don't have to answer to her and she does not need to answer to you. So she goes in debt, not your problem. You do not bail her out. The only thing I may make sure of is, she has her necessities. Food, a roof over her head, heat, and clothing. The debts, they will die with her. Your not responsible for them. Just keep saying "thats Mom".

If Dad handled all the money, she may have to be shown how to budget. That you can only spend what comes in. It should not be you. See if your County Office of Aging can help.
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sp196902 Jul 3, 2024
I don't think OP should feel responsible to make sure mom has food, clothing and a roof over her head if mom is squandering her money away. OP has to prepare for her own old age not sacrifice her life for her mother's.
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I'd say you should back off, not for your mom, but for you and your mental and physical health. You will end up with physical issues if you keep putting yourself in this much stress for so long.

Also it is very possible your mom has some dementia, maybe what they call chemo brain. I would probably let your mom live her life. Enjoy your life , there will be a time your mom needs you and she will most assuredly turn to you. Enjoy the peace while you have it.

Best of luck to you
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