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My father was closer to me than anyone on earth, and I absolutely adored him. I won’t bore you with all of the ways he made the world a better place, but at the end of the day, the point is: absolutely no regrets for one second of caring for him with my mother these past few years, through in-home hospice and death. We worked together to put aside what was a very fraught relationship between us. His death destroyed me, and I’ll probably never recover.


But of that is normal. So, no problem. Just one day at a time, and it’s early days, but I’ll get through this time of grieving. Then today, 3 weeks after my father passed, my mother goes on about what a failure and loser I am for refusing to go to the market. For the record, I’m a previously very successful lawyer who left practice to deal with a health matter, then continued not working when my father needed care and she said she couldn't do it alone. I’m living in a caregiver unit in her home, and I don’t have any savings. I couldn’t immediately get back on my own feet, as my only money has been a $200/month stipend. But she’s a bit of a narcissist with histrionic personality disorder (my non-medical, yet accurate, diagnosis), so it was only a matter of “when” for her to go in for the kill on ...something.


I’m 50 and in decent health. She’s 78 and in decent health. We are comfortable due to my father’s business acumen, so this is less about money and more about control. I’m pretty sure I can’t stay after today. I’m really trying to get through tonight, because no matter how deeply her words cut me, it’s not remotely the first time and I should know better than to think she’d changed.

I adored my father and much like yours, he was a joy to be around. He was loving, kind and humble.

I cared for my mom and dad in their home. Daddy had heart issues and a stroke. He died in 2002.

Mom has Parkinson’s and moved in my home after losing her home in Hurricane Katrina. It is thoroughly draining to be a full time caregiver in a difficult situation. I did it for nearly 15 years in my home. Please don’t end up like me. It nearly killed me.

My mom is now living with my brother and sister in law. I simply couldn’t do it anymore. I no longer have a relationship with mom or brothers. She stirred up so much crap that it became a nightmare.

The caregiving ruined our relationship. At one time we were close but it is different being the caregiver. My mom still wanted to treat me like a child. She didn’t respect any boundaries.

You know it won’t work out with your mom. Trust your instincts and move forward with your plan to start a new life on your own.

Help find an assisted living facility or finding a new caregiver if you like. I am so sorry for the loss of your sweet father. Take time to grieve and heal. I sincerely hope you will find peace and joy in your future. Hugs!
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Slekker Nov 15, 2019
Thank you.
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My difficult parent (with a diagnosised personality disorder and vascular dementia) didn't predecease my loving parent, but I feel there are a lot of similarities to your situation because the undeserved verbal abuse is so similar and deeply painful. I didn't walk away from overseeing my difficult parent's care as he aged and his dementia worsened. I did walk away from the amount of personal contact, stopped providing any direct care, placed him in MC and only visited 2 hours a week during the 3+ years he lived there.

I suggest you establish new living arrangements ASAP and reduce contact with your mother to a weekly or bi-monthly visit, or maybe even monthly visit until she really begins needing help. People with histrionic personality disorder (HPD) are always the "victim" and unrelentingly create drama and discord. Let your mother find another drama target, maybe a neighbor or service provider who has little to no emotional ties with your mother and is not venerable to emotional pain from her attacks. When she begins needing direct care help, encourage her to move into AL and do not become her direct care giver. You cannot make someone with HPD happy or even content; they can make you VERY unhappy.

Please understand most people with HPD were created by abuse and/or neglect during childhood. It's not your mother's fault she has HPD; she does share some responsibility in not learning to control her impulses better; however, even if she exercised great control over most of her life, during times of extreme stress (like the death of a spouse) HPD behaviors will escape her control and be fully expressed. Not really her fault, but that doesn't make those behaviors any easier to tolerate. Mom's HPD or her HPD behaviors are not your fault in any way. NEVER accept any guilt or fault for any of her outrageous statements! Do not let her accusations undermine your own confidence. Accept this is something neither you nor your mother can change and focus on coping with this difficult reality in a way that doesn't cause further injuries.

Go, reestablish your professional life and reconnect with your personal friends! Life is for the living, so go live. It's what your loving father would want for you.
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Slekker Nov 15, 2019
Thank you. You are right, and that is helpful to hear.
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Slek, mom is ok on her own. Just get out of there. Deal with grief over dad one day at a time.

You need to get yourself situated for your own future.
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Slekker Nov 15, 2019
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I am sorry for your loss.

Mothers can be our worst enemies, knowing every button and sore spot to aim at.

I don't think that you should expose yourself to her hatefulness any longer than needed to get a place of your own.

Hopefully your dad provided for you in his will, if not mom gets it all and she will use that to beat you over the head and try to manipulate you with it.

When my dad starts on what a loser I am, I always say I bet you wish you raised me better. It shuts off his hateful comments.

I pray that God grants you grieving mercies and strength during this difficult time.
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Slekker Nov 15, 2019
Thank you. Yeah - it would be so much better if criticism - no matter how hateful or untrue - comes from someone who’s not our parent. It cuts so much deeper from someone you “should” be able to trust not to hurt you, let alone destroy you. I just thought I could at least have a few more weeks to deal with losing him.
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Sorry, don't think grieving makes you nasty to others. As u said, she has always been this way.

Time to find a job. If not as a lawyer, maybe a paralegal. There has to be someplace that can use u, maybe Legal aid? When u get the job, u may have to find someplace to live soon after. Because, she will probably be worse. Is there someone u can live with until u get money saved up? Once you move out, u can choose when to see her. I would not tell her of ur plans. I would make sure when the time comes, if u have siblings, tell them u gave up ur life for Dad, but won't be doing it for someone who can't appreciate ur sacrifices. Its their turn.
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Slekker Nov 15, 2019
Thank you
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Family ties us by blood, by hearts and by history. It does not use ropes. When the ties that bind are choking the quality out of our lives, it's time to cut the cord and move on. We owe our parents respect. Sometimes respect must come from a distance. If she is in good enough health to live safely on her own, make a plan and move to your own place as soon as possible. Don't storm out. Don't yell or tell her off. Thank her for letting you be there to help her with your father in his final times and politely tell her it's time for you to move on and begin your healing process, which is not going to happen in the place where you watched your father die or with a woman who is hurtful towards you when she knows you are grieving. Being angry and resentful towards her is like taking poison and expecting HER to die. Just know her behavior is her issue and not yours and close this chapter with dignity and respect for your late father's sake and move forward. His grace and memory go with you everywhere. Smile. Hold your head up. Let your broken heart fill with his memory and cry whenever you need to. I lost my beloved father on 4/3/16. Had a very similar situation with my mother when she was alive. They are both gone now and I take the best parts of them with me every day. So will you. Just breathe and start planning that new life you so richly deserve. Best of everything for a happy future.

Joanne
Lousivlle, Kentucky
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MaryKathleen Nov 17, 2019
BluebirdKY You are so right. Also, I recommend NEVER let her live with you again. You can take care of her from a distance.

Joann29 had the right idea. Don't tell her what you are going to do, You are an adult, not a child. Just dress up and go out and do it. If she asks where you are going, just say, "out for a few minutes". If you can't do that, join a gym, wear gym clothes and take your good ones, change there before looking for work. I don't know if you have to be sure your License or whatever is up to date, but do that first.

You are not alone out there, you need to save yourself. This forum can help you do that.
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Didn’t your father leave you any money? Did every cent go to her? If so, that is a real shame; he kind of hamstrung you, leaving you dependent on your mom financially (or so it seems). I am curious: was he aware of how you and your mother dislike one another, and how mean she is? Surely he must have had some notion of what a fix he would leave you in by not providing you a monetary escape route.

Well, too late now, but I think this is a cautionary tale for others. Perhaps going to the “nicer” parent and saying frankly, “I am happy to put my life on hold and help out, BUT, we need to talk about my future, and what provisions can be made for me in the event of...” etc.

People so often don’t treat life enough like a business.
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Stevietalk Nov 18, 2019
The money is never yours in the first place, we should never be dependent on the money .. it is not a business, in my parents case, my dad also was loving & kind - mom damaged by dysfunctional life & not willing to to acknowledge & grow/heal.
I would never expect dad should leave money to me ... they worked together to take care of them in retirement & til death.
Not easy, I have chosen to live my life separately, heal & just support with healthy boundaries in place ..
we each have a decision to be made - it is painful no matter what
Not judging anyone, just my opinion
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CTTN55 is absolutely right. If your mother can care for herself safely, you need to launch. If she can’t, explore other living arrangements for her and then launch.

However, having said that, I had somewhat the same situation, except that when my father (with whom I had much the same relationship that you had with your’s) passed, my mother couldn’t say anything nice or loving about him. My family and I put up with it for a few months until we took her to a restaurant for Mother’s Day (Dad passed in March). She sat at the table and did nothing but slam him. That night my family had an intervention with me and said they were tired of listening to her insults about my dad and I had to talk to her, which I did. It wasn’t easy because she could be very nasty, but I got my point across.

Perhaps this is your mother's way of dealing with her grief. That’s what my mother told me. Different people mourn in different ways. Maybe your mother is taking it out on you to make herself feel better about losing your father. Maybe you need to confront her the same way I did my mom.
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Slekker Nov 15, 2019
Thank you. I tried today, but whatever. 🤷🏼‍♀️ It wasn’t worth it.
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Why did your parents only pay you a $200/month stipend for full-time caregiving?

Look for a job and move out. You need to secure your own financial future.

(Do you have siblings? Where are they?)
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Hello Slekker,
I'm sorry for the loss of your dad, who sounds like a wonderful human. How fortunate you are to have known him, and how decent you are to have been there for him at the end of his life.
You deserve better than what your mom is serving.
As you've mentioned you have no savings, likely your options for an immediate exit are somewhat limited.
Start planning your departure now, keep it to yourself and be measured in your approach, as a hasty or rash exit could delay your ability to right yourself.
You are 50, in decent health, with an advanced degree, I like your chances for success!
Your dad would want you to be happy, go make him proud.
I wish you well.
R27
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