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This is my first post...my father passed about a year and a half ago - it was unexpected (3 weeks from diagnosis to death) and I was completely devastated. My dad and I had always been close, mostly because my mom is a bully with a sweet face. She fools everyone how wonderfully kind she is, but if you lived with her, it's a different story. My dad modeled enabling kinds of behavior, and, dealing with this all of my life, that is what I learned to do, too. Until I met my wonderful husband and I learned that there are different (healthier) ways of interacting. I distanced myself emotionally from my mother, but remained close with my father. None of us are perfect, and I'm sure I do things wrong, but I am much more like my dad - we "got" each other. Her bullying of him never stopped, and when he became ill, she checked out (no visits, no phone calls) - thank goodness I was there with him or he would have died alone. The man did EVERYTHING for and with her - cooked, cleaned, checked her blood sugar, exercised with her (the only way she would do it), bought her whatever she wanted...and I've pretty much assumed his role.
I had hoped that mom and I could learn to lean on each other at this point in our lives - despite the dysfunction, my parents loved each other and I am sensitive to her feelings of loss, loneliness, fear (and probably so much more). I see her - she suffers from depression, intense feelings of inadequacy/inferiority (what manifests in bully behavior), inability to cope and narcissism. Her somewhat frail health declined quickly, so I moved her with me. My brother (her favorite) died in his 20's, so I have no other family (a blessing and a curse, I think).
Now, she wallows in misery all day and literally invents things to be angry about. She is raking my father's memory through the mud and is now involving his friends and former colleagues. It's devastating. I have tried EVERYTHING to get her mind occupied in doing something else besides facebook and texting/emailing people demanding to the know truth about my father's (imagined) misdeeds. She refuses counseling or even getting out of the house.
Her hostility toward me (and my deceased father) has increased significantly in the last month; she sneaks food she shouldn't eat (via well-intentioned "friends" and her caregiver) and now has herself in a medical pickle. She fights me every step of the way, then gets herself into trouble and pleads for me to help her (which I always do, because I promised my father I would). We had an honest (I thought) discussion and agreement about food, and, hours later, she went completely against it. When I asked, "Mommy, I thought we had talked about this?" she looked at me and said, "Oh, come onnnnnn - f*ck yooouuu!"
So I suppose it's time for boundaries, but its very hard for me because I feel so guilty and like I'm failing my father. My logical mind gets caught up with my emotional mind. I feel in emotional turmoil all the time (worry about her health, the abusive behavior, her spending...) and I feel like I'm kind of losing it. I can't really continue this way - it isn't fair to my (saintly!) husband. I exercise a lot, and that helps, but these worries are always lurking in the back of my mind, exhausting me.
Thank you for reading this - maybe I just needed to vent, and maybe hear from people in a similar situation as it helps to not feel quite so alone.

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What your father chose to do in his marriage was his business. What went on between your mother and father is none of your business. That may be hard for you to accept because you have been groomed to be her caregiver, but you are an adult and your choices are your own.

You will not change your mother - that much is clear. Your father could not change her but rather enabled her, and created a monster.

Did your father actually ask you to promise to take care of her? If he did, then that was very wrong of him to do. If he did not, then accept that you made a promise over something you cannot control and it's an impossible promise to keep.

I am the spouse of a primary caregiver and am warning you that your husband's patience will not last forever. If you want your marriage to last, stop putting everything you've got into your mother. Your mother has told you who she is and it's time you believed her.
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LizO66 Sep 20, 2019
Thank you - I agree their relationship is not my business. I keep out of that completely, despite my mother's protests because she wants to say terrible things about him.

No, my father did not ask me to care for my mother - he would never have done that. I volunteered - he was a good father and husband, and it is a way for me to honor him (within reason).

I am very protective of my marriage and my husband - we have supported each other through very tough times with some of his family members, and at this point I feel I need to do something else because this situation is taking too much of an emotional toll - I see that clearly.

I know who my mother is - and I certainly believe her. I just need to figure out what to do because I am pretty sensitive and have a hard time with boundaries.

Thank you for your thoughtful response!
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Much wisdom from BarbBrooklyn. Also, just a gentle reminder that your first priority is not you continuing your father's legacy of enabling...it's your marriage and your long-suffering spouse. Your mom is toxic and will become more so. It will feel hard to extricate her but you must do this. It will be difficult for a while and then the clouds will part and the sun will shine. Blessings and peace to you.
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LizO66 Sep 20, 2019
Thanks so much - it's the extricating that's so hard! I know that my father would NOT want me to be miserable and would not have an issue with anything I did because he knew my heart - and what my mom is capable of. My husband feels that it may be too early for assisted living (thankfully we have a small house next door to our home where she lives and has a caregiver 5 hours per day, so we do get a break). It's the emotional game-playing that takes a toll.

You're response is so refreshing - like autumn air. Thank you!!
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WHY does this woman stay in your house? It’s noble to hope she will come around and you can support one another, but you see now she will never be the mom you needed or wanted. It’s tough to give up that hope, but you need to if you wish to remain sane.

Anyone in my house who says “f*ck you” to me would be out of there before sunset.
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lealonnie1 Sep 20, 2019
Exactly! So disrespectful to speak that way to a 'loved one'! I went to a therapist about 100 years ago and you know what he told me? Something very wise: he said "You will never be friends with your mother so please stop trying to achieve the impossible." He was spot on
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You say your father enabled her. Was that a good thing to do?

I guess you promised him to continue to enable her, not to do what was right for her, yes?

Look, the right thing to do is to walk away, call APS and her doc and let them know that shes endangering herself. Then she'll get the care she needs.

Continue as you are and she'll outlive you.
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Just to add to my previous post...

Your mom may not have dementia, but she is and likely always has been mentally ill. It is extremely hard to get a mentally ill person treatment when they are being enabled.

Your father gave up his life for your mom. Only you can decide if you are willing to follow in his footsteps.
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lealonnie1 Sep 20, 2019
Well said
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Why on earth are you continuing to enable Mommy like your father did?? Now she's on a track to self destruction, bringing you and your DH down with her, if you agree to allow it, and raking your father's memory through the mud! My mother does the exact same thing........she speaks ill of my deceased father every chance she gets. I believe she does it to hurt ME, personally, because she thinks I 'loved him more' than I do her. Meanwhile, she's exactly like YOUR mother, meaning she's mean and unlovable. Dad was a lovely man with a heart of gold, although he allowed HER behavior to escalate to the point of insanity instead of telling her to Sit Down And Shut Up about 70 years ago. Mother has lived in an Assisted Living Community for the past 5 years, and now Memory Care, because there is no way she'd EVER live with me!!!

Get your mother OUT of your house and into Assisted Living where others are paid to put up with her BS. You've done more than enough. Take your life back, my friend, or SHE will usurp it, happily.
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LizO66 Sep 20, 2019
Thank you for this! In a nutshell it's easier to enable her - sad but true. I live in a very expensive county, and I have to coordinate emptying her house and selling it (in another state) before I can move her anyplace because I can't front the kind of money needed for assisted living here. And I'm confident that within a couple of months she will be miserable and beg me to get her out of there. But that's the last option I have and once that's done, it's done.

But I agree that she speaks ill of my father to hurt me...she says "you're just like your father" as if she is eating rotten fruit. I usually say, "thanks."

Thank you for your response!!
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Liz,

I promised my dad too. To be perfectly honest, I was naive and didn’t even realize what I was signing up for.

I loved my dad and wanted him to leave this world in peace, knowing mom would be cared for by her only daughter.

He adored my mother. I didn’t want to let him down. Sound familiar to you? I bet it does.

Daddy went along with mom. Happy Wife, Happy Life’ isn’t always the case, is it? Many times I saw my father hurt and disappointed. No one has a perfect marriage. No one is ‘problem free.’

I don’t think my father knew how to confront my mom.

Daddy was a humble man. He aged like a fine wine. He became more precious with age.

He was fiercely independent. That generation it was common for couples just starting out to live with parents in order to save for a home.

My mom’s parents offered that to them. He flat out refused, saying they would rent an apartment until he could buy a home. He worked two jobs. Needless to say, I got my strong work ethics from daddy.

They rented a place for $5.00 a month (furnished). They were able to buy a home shortly after I was born. I adored listening to my dad’s stories. I bet you heard many stories from your dad too.

I took care of him in his later years. Through it all he was gracious and kind.

There was no pleasing mom. She was always a perfectionist and was very critical of me. I never felt like I measured up to her standards. She favored my brothers.

I loved my parents and remained close to them all of my life and after dad died mom eventually ended up moving in with me. I had been caring for her too. She has Parkinson’s disease. She lived in our home for nearly 15 years. She constantly complained and expected a lot from me.

I became riddled with anxiety and suffered with depression and loneliness. I became bitter and resentful, developed ridiculously high blood pressure. My doctor was concerned, doubling the dosage of BP meds.

Mom living with us interfered in all aspects of my life. I had to let go of the delusional ‘fairytale’ ending that I imagined. We cannot change other’s patterns of lifetime behavior.

Many people tried to tell me that I was burning out but I couldn’t see it. I was blind. I wasn’t ready. I hit a breaking point and mom no longer lives with me.

I finally stood up to mom and she didn’t take it well. She was nasty to me. Said things that crushed me.

She now lives with my brother and his wife until they place her in a facility. She stirred things up badly leading my brothers to believe her crazy exaggerated stories. Of course they didn’t bother to get my side of the story.

I wish things had ended peacefully. I am slowly adjusting. She is no longer my responsibility.

Please don’t put yourself in a position where you and your family suffer more. None of you deserve that.

The final decision is yours to make but I ask you to consider the good advice from all who posted here. I wish I had listened. I regret not listening. You can avoid more heartache by starting to plan to take control of your life again.

Our dads loved us but Just like I had no idea how hard it would be having mom live with me. I bet they honestly didn’t realize what they were asking from us. Taking care of mom doesn’t necessarily mean them living in our homes. You can arrange for her to live elsewhere.
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Liz, I experienced similar circumstances. Excellent advice from all responders!
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You mention that your mother’s radical behavior has
escalated over the past month. You might want to get her a test to rule out a urinary track infection.
A UTI will often escalate dementia type behavior.
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My parents were wonderful while I was growing up and seemed very happy. Mom did always rule the roost and dad went along to get along. Sometime after I moved out things sorta went downhill, I guess. Anyway, they ended up moving down the street from me 15 years ago while they were in their early 60s. They started mostly sitting in the house, hermiting and drinking wine all day. Long story short, after 7-8 years of that, dad developed dementia. OMG the Horrible things my mother said to him!! She was so verbally and emotionally abusive, I know it accelerated his downfall.

Normal language from her includes F*ck, both to me and to him. He's been moved to memory care now. I've seen her yell "F*ck You!", "Shut up!", and "I can't wait until you are dead!" at him at his facility. Staff has called me about her behavior toward him. She continues to live alone down the street from me, nasty one minute, crying the next, always wallowing in sadness and self-pity. I feel so stuck and I fear for my future. I have to totally compartmentalize my life and keep her negativity contained and away from my household. I have a 40+ hour week career, husband, house/yard of my own, and I am responsible for dad's oversight because she refuses. Ugh! Vent away, I get it. I exercise a lot too - running helps me and strangely so does aggressive yardwork (mostly cutting and chopping, LOL) we have a big yard in Florida so it's a jungle in the summer.
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LizO66 Sep 20, 2019
Oh, Upstream, I'm so sorry. It's funny that my youth felt "normal" but I look back and see there were some real issues - mostly centered around my mom. If I wanted fairness/equality, I'd be forced onto my knees to recite Hail Mary's while she screeched over my head "it's a sin to be jealous of your brother!!" over and over again - until I cried. I'd get slapped in the face, whipped with a belt...and my brother usually got off, scott-free. As a teenager, I was constantly told I was fat (I wore a size 2). I was not allowed to go to college or, my first choice, art school. I had the worst self-esteem you can imagine; I felt ugly and unlovable. I look back at pictures of myself, and I think I was cute and I had a lot of potential. I vowed I would never treat my children that way - and I haven't (we are all very close and I'm so grateful for it!) It was completing my first marathon that gave me confidence - real, deep down confidence. I've been working on it ever since. I'm learning that I am worthy of respect from my mother, but I struggle because sometimes I go back to feeling like I'm 8 years old, having to pray. I don't know how much time we have together, but I don't want it colored with such ugliness.

And yardwork is so gratifying - you have something so pretty to look at after you're done! Florida in the summer will give you plenty of work!!

Thank you for sharing your experience - I'm not good at compartmentalizing and I wish I was! And thank you for your compassion and empathy.
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