I have great compassion for the elderly. As most of you know I care for my 93 year old mom and only get to go somewhere once in awhile when my husband can stay with mom.

I have known a woman for 10 years that CONSTANTLY complains about every single person in her family, including her daughter that she lives next door to. I have spent time with her daughter and son in law and they take wonderful care of her.

Had I not met them and believed her I would have thought they were awful people. I have caught her in many lies.

I initially did feel sorry for her because she lost her beloved husband. I met her through another friend. It has been 9 years since her husband died and she is stuck in the grief process. I have suggested she go to therapy. She told me that she makes appointments, then cancels. She went a few times but she isn’t interested in moving forward and loves feeling sorry for herself and wants everyone else to join in. It is so DRAINING on anyone around her so people start to ignore her and she can’t understand why. She has chased everyone away. People want to help her, tried to help her as I did but give up because she becomes impossible to be around due to her insults and mean behavior. I still speak to her occasionally on the phone when she calls.

She won’t go to senior centers, church, out to eat, movies, nothing with the exception of one thing, CASINOS! I strongly believe she is addicted. She no longer has access to her money by herself. She shares checking accout with her daughter and she will continually ask others for money. I do not give her money. She gets mad. I do not want to bring her to the casino. She gets mad. I’ve brought her to the casino in the past and stopped when I saw her behavior. I only wanted to stay at the casino for a 2 or 3 hours. She did not want to leave. When she ran out of money she kept asking me for money. I didn’t bring a lot of money with me. Whenever I have gone I limit what I spend. She ended up taking a cab home because I didn’t want to stay longer. We stayed for about 3 hours which is what I told her I would do. She knew ahead of time that I wasn’t going to stay longer than that.

I don’t care if anyone gambles but I don’t think it should be the only activity that a person does. Seems boring to me if that would be my only choice of an outing. It’s fun once in awhile with limited money and for just a few hours.

There were tons of elderly people at the casino! How common is this? I only go once in awhile so I don’t know the usual crowds in there.

This lady gets around well. No wheelchair, cane or walker. All of the employees knew her name. She takes a cab there frequently and then asks others to bring her home because she will spend her last dime! She is diabetic and doesn’t want to stop playing ‘penny machine’ to eat. I can’t deal with it. Depressing and annoying to me.

She calls me periodically to ask me to bring her. I try to change the subject by asking about her grandchildren and so forth but she talks about them for two minutes, then straight back to speaking about gambling and how rotten her life is.

My question is, is this a lost cause? Should I stop taking her calls? She never apologizes for her behavior and feels everything is other people’s fault and that they are being mean to her. She doesn’t listen to reason. I give up! When should a person give up on someone else? I feel she has mental health issues that haven’t been addressed and I do not want to be her psychologist.

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You know the weird thing about my friend, everyone is aware she is a Debbie Downer but they still feel sorry for her so they do for her. Before my caregiving days, we went out to lunch once a month. In that time she fell out of two peoples cars and had been diagnosed with Parkinson's.
She would like to go to lunch again but this woman is 5 ft 10 weighing over 200 lbs. I am 5 ft. There is no way I can help her if she falls. Or getting in and out of my car. I have a bulging disk I really don't want to deal with.
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Wow! Falling out of a car. That is serious.

See that’s the thing. Caring people want to help but there is a limit to what we can do.

Regardless of their behavior, I don’t think anyone would wish them harm. We truly want the best for them but not at the expense of draining ourselves. Agree?
Unfortunately, your friend and people like her don't see that they are the ones chasing friends and LO away. I have learned awhile back that you can't help people who don't help themselves. My mother is this way. She will complain, want advice but still nothing changes. She plays the poor me card to anyone who will listen. Unfortunately, she has complain so much that her words just fall to the floor (so to speak).

It is my belief that these people who complain all the time and play the victim start out doing it for one reason than it becomes a habit; a habit that they never realize is pushing people away. They just don't get it or see it.

There is nothing you can do to change or make your friend see what she is doing. People like her will drain the life out of you if you let them.

If I was you, I would do what CM says, if you feel you can cope with her than take her call if not than don't. But you must come to terms that people like her never really want any help; they just love being the victim!
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You and countrymouse are exactly correct! My husband’s grandma was the most miserable person I ever met. She wasn’t happy unless she felt she could control others. I asked my mother in law if it was because she was old. Her response was that she was ALWAYS that way! And you are so right, his grandma couldn’t see why people didn’t want to be around her. Kind of sad.
I think you will have to assume that this lady is a career complainer - she's happy being miserable.

How you respond is up to you. Personally I should take her calls if in the mood to cope, and not if not. But in any case, if all she's calling for is to cadge a ride to the casino, you should be able to brush her off pretty effectively with "I'm not going to the casino." Say it flat out, don't explain, don't elaborate, repeat as needed. She wants to scream and abuse, hang up.

Are you on good enough terms with the daughter to raise your concerns with her?
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That is what I have been doing. I tell her that I am not going. She gets desperate to go to the casino and starts calling people. She tells me that she is upset because everyone she has called has told her no.

I only see her daughter when I am visiting at her condo. They live next door to each other.

The daughter’s personality is polar opposite and this drives the mother crazy. Her daughter is very easy going and takes her mother’s complaining in stride, mostly by ignoring it or taking a vacation when needed! She will take off to the beach and come back a week later, leaving her mom in the hands of others. Smart lady!

Misery loves company and her daughter doesn’t buy into it.

I used to to listen to my friend more, thinking she just needed someone to listen to her but I find myself getting drained because she NEVER EVER stops complaining so I think it has gotten to the point of severely limiting conversations on the phone with her. As ArtistDaughter stated with her friend, it simply takes up too much time and energy because she isn’t going to listen to anyone else’s opinion as valid. Plus she has started being disrespectful to others if she doesn’t get her way. We teach our children to respect others and correct them if they show disrespect. I don’t feel like I have to accept disrespect from an adult. Thanks for responding.

I sometimes feel like I have made too many allowances for elderly people. What I have had others point out to me and discovered on my own is that very often a person who is overly rude isn’t that way due to growing older but they have been rude all their lives, personality trait, not age related.
I have a few people in my life who are "getting to me"--one is a very young neighbor who has epilepsy and so she cannot drive (but she CAN navigate our transit system and she can handle calling UBER's--she's just a lazy user and has worn out everybody in the neighborhood, begging calls to go places, do things because she's bored. Last week I was helping my daughter and "M" texts me that she's SUPER bored, can I come get her and go to a craft store and wander around? I said yes, but that I couldn't be there before 4 pm. I get text after text as she impatiently waits for me. (I was in her driveway at 3:59) We go to the craft store and within 10 minutes, her hubby calls and she says "Oh I have to go home now! J doesn't like to be home without me". Seriously. SERIOUSLY.

Another is my mother and nothing is going to change her. I have to be super firm and say no and walk away--and then give her silent treatment for a couple weeks....

Last, but worst, is a friend who is a widow, aged 68 and through the ultimate stupidity of humankind, is raising her 3 small grandkids--with NO legal rights--no child support, no health insurance, no food stamps--and she makes $1400 a month. Her son is supposedly making her house payment, but a quick check just showed she's 5 months in arrears. She cries and moans and bitches about this son (he's 37) until you want to slap her--but she will not do ANYTHING legal to get guardianship of the kids, so if something happens, they will, at MINIMUM have a home and guardians. She was going to sell her home last fall and I hauled my behind up down and sideways to get her huge home packed and organized. PAID for the storage, knowing I'd be made whole at closing.

Well, last minute, literally, she pulls out of the sale. I still have to pay for the storage, she's got a houseful of crap and a garage full of crap (mostly the sons') and she will NOT hear a word against him.

You cannot fix stupid.

I finally "broke up" with an old friend from HS who was becoming too, um, interested in me, wanting to take me on trips and stuff. As my DH travels all the time, he literally would never know. Of course I said no to the guy and then he gets mad at me. Mad at a married woman for being faithful?

We are so used to being people pleasers that when a time comes that we don't want to, or can't, for some reason we feel GUILTY.

I'm working on this bad behavior trait. All 3 of these woman have one thing in common: they have the ability to suss out "pleasers" and then they use us until we're exhausted. And we feel lousy when things don't go well for them.
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JoAnn29 Feb 2019
You are SO right. In the beginning you really don't mind and then it seems like its always you. It actually gets overwhelming. At 69 I am not looking for any new friends. Mom passed in Sept of 2017 and I took a year off. The only persons I give rides to is disabled nephew and gson with epilepsy.

Its hard because we are suppose to help others but its so hard to get your life back after they start taking advantage.
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I liked your comment on a ‘one way street’. She too is the same way. Know what? JoAnn is correct by saying she uses others and to just let her get mad about it. I was hoping I could convince her to try a senior center to do activities there but I doubt that will happen.
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I have a friend who also complains. She never asks me for money, but she takes up too much time and it is always a one way conversation. I have actually a physical reaction of dread when I see it's her calling so I don't answer.
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You hit the nail on the head. I start becoming stressed when I see its her number calling me.

She tries to lay a guilt trip on me which drives me crazy. She goes to extremes with it, telling people that God is watching and everyone will be punished for neglecting her. It’s ridiculous!

I told her that her trying to make me feel guilty will not change my mind.
If her calls are just asking you for a ride or money then I would block her. She is not a friend. A friend does not take and not give back. Her negativity would turn me off.

I have a friend I have known since HiSchool who is a Debbie Downer. I got caller ID so I knew it was her calling. She would call at dinner time. She would call at 9pm at night. (I don't call people past 8pm) When I did talk to her, it was always complaining. She has numerous health problems and doesn't get out much. She complains about not having transportation for appts but won't take the Senior bus. Complains she needs help but won't sign up for Medicaid homecare because...she doesn't want a stranger in her home. She is her worst enemy. The problems she has are of her making. She expects too much and then gets hurt when people don't do for her. So, I have stepped back. I talk to her when I am in the mood. I do feel sorry for her but she will not do certain things for herself. And I can't do it for her.

My opinion, your friend is taking advantage of you. This is probably what she does. When she calls for a ride, continue to say no. If anything, say your sorry but you won't take her anymore. Also, tell her you will not loan or give her money. Let her get mad. She is not a friend. Mental illness? There r people like this. They never see where they are wrong. They r users and yes...a lost cause.
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Thanks JoAnn,

I have stepped back as you have with your friend from school. I know she is truly lonely and I feel badly for anyone who doesn’t have friends and want to socialize. She does not attempt to make any friends outside of the casino because she can’t pester them for rides or money.

I don’t go to the casino on a regular basis. As I said if I do go a couple of times a year I am happy just going for fun with a limited amount of money. ($50.00). If I lose, I am ready to go home. If I win I treat myself to something nice or put it in the bank. She has asked me to go to the ATM machine to give her money, which I will not do.

She spends hundreds of dollars and doesn’t have fun. She wants more money so she doesn’t have to go home to an empty house.

You’re most likely correct in saying she won’t change. It’s a shame. I suppose some seniors get addicted to casinos. They think it’s company for them. She can’t she that she has fallen into a trap.

She won’t try a senior center. I know others who love the activities at senior centers.
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