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Basically she cannot maintain a house and over time got siblings to do the needed home projects (father is gone). The real answer is downsizing which she refuses to do. Siblings seem to be getting annoyed as I don't get involved in "discretionary" work with SAME REASON - as long as she has food/shelter/clothes (the BASICS) she is fine and can get things done on her own, or downsize. She never went "beyond" for me as a kid or adult when I needed major justified help (or if I pleaded, she did so once grudgingly like someone was cutting off her arm and complained to many). As a kid there were many times that I needed guidance on important non-school "life" things and I never had that. She always told me to figure things out for myself. She certainly didn't lose any sleep over my social issues! (Maybe the secret to living so long - don't give a sh*t).


Also, siblings drive her around town, despite the town having a free senior transport service. Mother doesn't want to use this service when I suggest. She seems to want others to drive in from out of town and take her on errands.


She would also often say to me as a kid that she never needed anyone for anything, but is now manipulating siblings into doing things for her contrary to her regular preaching from my youth. Basically a hard, tough person all along that did not extend herself but now seems to be expecting it vs "walking the walk" that she continually "talked the talk" about on never needing help from anyone.


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My father used to tell me that if he hadn’t had kids he would be driving around in a Rolls Royce I could never work this out as my parents spent nothing on me and my brother and both worked good full time jobs when women didn’t work at all

yes they expected me to visit every weekend like a dutiful daughter and be so grateful that they fed and housed me

as soon as I turned 14 years and 9 mths old my mother came home and announced she got me a part time job on Saturdays and Thursdays after school

i had had to iron my own clothes, clean the kitchen, bathroom, laundry and my own room. I had to set the table every night then clean it up and do the dishes
I totally looked after myself

from age 5 till 12 my mother would hit me with a strap if I did not make it in the top 10 of my class at half yearly and yearly exams. It made her look bad

it totally screwed me up. I should have just left them which I did but then got sucked back in when my mother got early Alzheimer’s. God how I hated them and still do.

You need to get out and as far away as possible from them

you owe her nothing. Being a parent and looking after you was her job and she did it badly

let your siblings do as they please. It’s probably just conditioning from years of being on a guilt trip as guilt is probably your mother’s preferred method of parenting
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Davina Apr 2019
That's a brutal upbringing, Pandabear. Really p!sses me off to read this.
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see above
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Thanks for getting it as sibs think I'm terrible for not getting sucked in to taking care of her house and other non-critical affairs. "But she's your mother and I know that she wasn't perfect" I've heard. "But why are you going beyond what she did for us or for anyone else" I say. "She's got the basic necessities and is not in any danger" I further say "You know that there is NO way she would have driven several hours to run errands for her parents at our age and maintain their house had they been alive then (her parents had died by the time she was in her 30s)."
It's more the loss of time to do things with sibs who are becoming less available.

Sorry to hear that you raised yourself too with the same mentality. They did the minimum to comply with the law obviously so you wouldn't get taken away. Funny, my mother loved those good grades too; she relished the dinners that the school had for honor roll students and their parents as she got to rub elbows with the admin and look good to them as they liberally praised parents. Sib said that mother gave him a hard time for not making the honor roll. Sib seemed shocked when I pointed out that he deprived her of those dinners with principal/admin
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Hit a nerve
Yes, being raised with the "basics" seems to somehow fulfill some parents as to their roles. "fed, sheltered, dressed'. You'd do that for a dog.

I was basically on my own after age 12. Had to pay for ALL my extra stuff (and that included clothes!!) and as far as emotional support and care--forget about it.

Mother isn't a bad person, she just should never have had children. The ones she ADORES ignore her, and the ones she doesn't care about doing all the caregiving.

I'm not really involved in mother's life anymore. Too many years of trying to get her 'attention' and I give up. If go to visit she spends the entire time asking about one of the other sibs. I don't get it, I really don't.

Oh, and when she dies? There's a 'bill' in the estate portfolio that states I 'owe' the estate $1500. Probably b/c she let me have braces on my teeth and she wants the money back. When I found this, I was SO MAD, I almost wrote a check for it and stuck it with the 'bill'.
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LoopyLoo Apr 2019
”She just should never had children”. Oh yeah. Same with my mom. Did the basics of food, clothes, but couldn’t be bothered for anything past that. When I needed help, to be listened to, or even just a hug, she pushed me away. Now she doesn’t understand why I’m not her best friend.
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Anonymous: You sound like you're on the right track. You don't mention that your mother has mentally declined or has dementia or Alzheimer's, so I expect her behavior is standard.

Bottom line: she's cared for by her siblings, although in time I wonder if they'll start backing off and insist she take the initiative to make better choices and help herself. She has services available, like the free senior transport, but she chooses not to use it.

I think you're wise to set your boundaries, stick to them, especially since you're aware of her manipulations.
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Yes!! You are setting boundries. If she can't maintain her house, then its time to sell it. Use the profit to set her up in independent living. A little more than an apartment but they get breakfast, lunch and dinner. There are activities and transportation to appts and shopping.

Our Office of Aging puts out a nice booklet of all their services. Get Mom one. As the saying goes "We reap what we sow".

It seems you r a strong person. Pretty sure if she ever complains to you you will say, Do you have a house? Do you have food? Do you have clothes? If she says yes, then say "thats all you ever felt you owed me, so thats all I owe you. To make sure you have those things and nothing more".

By sibling, do you mean her's or yours?
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reap What You Sow. I use this saying a lot
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You are perfectly correct in your stance.

This is what the consequences of her choices look like. Yep momma, figure it out.

Your siblings are free to do as they choose, but they are not free to try and manipulate you into giving more then you are willing. Tell them to do as they like, but you won't be giving her anything beyond what you already do, every time they try to engage you reinforce this.
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Thank you all again. I started as "anonymous" but then changed ID so now am rm2019. I joined this AM as frustrated when my siblings (my brothers/sis; mother outlived all her siblings and spouse) invited me to get together at mother's where we do maintenance. It is now the case that most major holidays are there and someone(s) (including grandchildren) end up doing something to repair something in the home while there.

I do consider myself a strong person at this point and the situation is really crazy. She does not have Alzheimer's and along with manipulating everyone into transporting her/fixing house, she is wasting money on the taxes and other expenses associated with it. Her financial decisions for long term preservation of her finances (which are OK but not unlimited) should big bills come along later like a nursing home, make no sense and you cannot use any type of reason with her. I've proposed downsizing, better financial management ideas along with sibs but she cuts discussion off immediately.

For those of you that have a parent that thinks that they were the ultimate because they provided just the basics, I relate. Mother even said flat out to me several times as a kid "I am a good mother."
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It’s so sad that so many of us grew up like this.....in my case, I was always “compared” to this one or that one, who made straight A’s, but I was the one who got my butt beat when I told mom how they cheated to get those good grades because I had to be lying, neighbor kids would never cheat......or god forbid, I miss one note in a piano recital! Which I usually didn’t because I knew there wld b hell to pay because I embarrassed my mother.....I think the times are so different now, we know how to teach our children to be strong, independent adults and show love and compassion, and yes, discipline, when needed......my daughter now tells me she is so thankful I am her mom and that I raised her to stand on her own two feet and do what she wanted with her life.....she is in the Army and will retire in a few years....I am so proud of her.....
and yes, I help my mom now, she is fixing to turn 86 and still in pretty good health, is slowing down in certain areas, like driving....that’s why I moved back to Florida instead of going to Germany with my daughter for 3 yrs.....but I am going for a visit in the fall and I can hardly wait!!!!
rm2019, please take care of you.....please keep in touch here as everyone cares......much love and many blessings to you!
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This puts me in mind of:

"You are entitled to food, clothing, shelter and medical attention. Anything else you get is a privilege."

This is Rule #5 from the Alcatraz Inmate Rules and Regulations handbook, circa 1956. You can buy several different items with this rule emblazoned on it at the Alcatraz gift shop.

How sad to get a similar attitude from one's own parent. I'm sorry, rm2019.
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rm2019 Apr 2019
While I have straightened myself out from that after many disasters as a young adult having not experienced normal parental emotional care and guidance (like many others here, sadly), I never understood why such parents weren't recognized and "called out" by the other adults in society for simplistically being jail wardens for their children as you so accurately convey.

The jail warden treatment of raising kids is as devastating and harmful as other childhood obstacles that regularly get large media attention (a disability, illness, poverty, etc.). The entire world seems to assume that if a child is fed, adequately clothed and sheltered, and not obviously physically sick (a bonus doing well in school) then they have a wonderful, advantaged life/parents but many don't. It was (still is?) a very superficial sort of lazy way of judging the adequacy of a parent from the outside and many parents capitalized on it (and probably still do).

By the way SnoopyLove, we only got medical care as required by state law for checkups, vaccinations, dental when due. I remember many times as a kid getting bad colds/flu and lying in bed freezing by myself. No chicken soup, comfort, extra concern; I just staggered out when I could for water and food if able. Mother didn't believe in "running to the doctor" for every little thing (which was really no little thing). Kids at school would ask me what medicine I was taking and I would look at them like they were crazy as father didn't believe in taking anything. He also viewed us kids as "living high off the hog." A favorite saying of his was "this is not a democracy."

I think that my siblings are still in denial. Don't know why I'm not!
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If this is your mom giving you guilt, just explain, once, as above, and then ignore it.  If it is your siblings giving your grief, then remind them that your are willing to help when basics are involved, but will not enable a living situation that no longer works for her. They have their choices as do you. And you are realistically doing them a favor by not refusing to enable. Also, you might explain that she is goading them to try to involve you, this kind of triangulation is nasty and finally destroys relationships.
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Rovana,

Good reply!
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Thoughts on this... Mm.

What has what kind of mother you had got to do with what kind of adult child you feel you are prepared to be?

I don't care what she was like. I don't care what your siblings do, or what your siblings think you should do. The ONLY thing that matters is what you are prepared to contribute. And if you profoundly disagree with your mother's decision to remain in her home, and you have set out a well-worked proposal for a better alternative, what possible obligation can you have to prop up her bad idea? There is none. But you may still *want* to help.

My mother, may she rest in peace at last, was a bit flaky on the basics even. She was a person who had no aptitude for nurture - whether people, animals, or plants, tending living creatures was a thing she was no good at. Had I followed her example, I would have put her in a Nursing Home at the first opportunity and written to her conscientiously three times a week. That's what she did with her four kids - off to boarding school at age eight without the option. At least we got fed reliably! But you see, she was sent away to school at age six. What concept of close maternal relationships could she have developed?

I'm only contributing this experience because I think it is always worth bearing in mind that nobody, for good or ill, develops her personality in a vacuum. Your mother was pretty good at rejecting demands on her time and attention, and your needs went unmet; but whatever the underlying reasons she didn't behave like this purely to spite you. Besides, it's past and done. You are in charge of your future decisions, and there is no need or reason to base them on what was.

Item by item: if your mother approaches you for help, or your other family members ask you to help her, decide on a case-by-case basis if you are being asked to assist with a reasonable task. If yes, and you're happy, do it with a good will. If no... smile and say no.
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Riverdale Apr 2019
Thats terribly sad to go off to boarding school so young. Personally I don't agree with the concept although I will admit there were times in our house it may have been a benefit possibly from different perspectives within the family. Not to criticize where you live but would you agree that it is somewhat more prevalent in the UK?
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Wow, sounds familiar. [..."As a kid there were many times that I needed guidance on important non-school "life" things and I never had that. She always told me to figure things out for myself. She certainly didn't lose any sleep over my social issues! (Maybe the secret to living so long - don't give a sh*t)."] Same here! In my mere opinion, they truly have a defective personality. What boggles my mind, is how detached mother was from my feelings or sufferings. (It was non-existent to her, & she has no remorse for anything) because nothing was wrong, in her reality. As frustrating as this is, it helps us with our grief & trauma, to know that something is simply "missing" in them. (that it wasn't something we could have done better). Hope this helps you dear Anonymous. I enjoyed your question & thanks for sharing. P.S. (&Yes, this type does seem to live to a very old age! Yikes).
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Wow. I always thought I was alone when it came to this. Both my parents provided the very basics and told us we were lucky to have that. I am the oldest of four, three younger brothers. I knew if I wanted something I had to work and pay for it myself. I learned to sew and sewed all my own clothes, I babysat, and started working retail when I was 15. My parents divorced when I was 12, and after that it only got worse. I never had anything I didn't pay for myself. It became normal and just the way things were. I used to have to clean the house after school and if it wasn't clean there was hell to pay. I was required to clean both bathrooms every day and she would check! I cooked dinner nightly for all of us. I have three younger brothers and was expected to keep track of them. Walked to the 7-11 to buy milk and bread. I also had to have my mother's bath water ready when she got home from work on Mondays so she could jump in and out before her standing hair appointment. My friends thought this was weird, and I never understood why until later. I suppose I was just embarrassed. She wouldn't remember it this way, though, I am sure of it.

She didn't take care of her aging parents and would never be bothered to break a sweat going out of her way for them, ever. Now she resents getting old and that no one (my kids tolerate her only because of me, and she never sees her other grandchildren) goes out of their way to visit her or spend time with her. She always thought kids were an expense and imposition. Reap what you sow, it seems.

Once they were divorced my dad mostly ignored us and blamed my mother because of it. He used to tell me not to bother too much in front of a mirror - I was not the most beautiful thing in the world and far from it. I can't believe someone would say this to his own child! Despite this I once asked him to help me buy a car (I needed one for college) and he refused. He said I'd figure it out. My dad preferred horses and women anyway. I tried to develop a relationship with him once I had a family of my own, but it didn't work out. He died a few years ago, penniless and alone. Reap what you sow, I guess.

You seem to understand what's going on, clearly. My mother always expected others to do for her and still does. Set your boundaries and stick by them. Your mother will "figure it out."
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Oh so true. Yes they then wonder why you can barely stand them
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My Mom sacrificed for her kids. Our friends loved her to the point they made themselves at home. I felt loved but...I never remember her telling me I was cute or pretty. (My DH says I am cute). She would say I looked nice in something, that color looks good on u, but never you look pretty. I made sure that my daughters were told they were cute or pretty.

Its a shame what people do to their children. And really, no matter how we overcome our child hood there's always that little child who got hurt by something a parent said. We r children for such a short time but those few short years effect us for the rest of our lives.
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I agree, JoAnn. We either make sure our children don’t feel things that we did or we follow the example and the cycle continues until it’s broken. You broke the cycle. So did I. 😊

Knowing that, we also have to consider what happened in their (our parents) childhood. With my dad, his father, strict religious background, made him choose a switch off of a tree to be beaten with due to the, ‘Spare the rod’ scripture. They thought they were doing the right thing. Very interesting, if you think about someone truly not being ‘mean’ intentionally, Then it becomes, simply ignorance. Know what I mean? So my dad spanked us.

My mom was never spanked as a child and didn’t spank us and had a talk with dad about other alternative discipline techniques.
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I must have been nurtured as a child. Otherwise, wouldn't I be unable to be nurturing? But, I cannot remember much from my childhood, try as I have. I remember learning to braid my own hair in the first grade because Mother didn't like to be woken up to do it.
I remember when it was nearing time to learn about body change, Mother gave me a book to read, but never discussed personally. When she found my stained underwear, she said in a critical tone, as if I'd done something wrong, "Why did you hide these?! Why didn't you tell me?!"
In junior high I shaved my hairy legs. You would have thought I had done something shameful. Same when a peer put eyeliner and mascara on me.
When I was a teenager, she didn't talk to me about sex. Instead she told me that I don't want to end up with one leg longer than the other (I know, right?). Instead of tell me about these things she criticized me and I felt like I was full of shame.
I was a really good student, but she never praised me or acknowledged it.
I lived 600 miles away for thirty years, away from that influence, that I guess I just forgot. Now we are back together, stuck with each other and it's (almost), like nothing's changed-- except that Now I recognize her passive aggressive behavior and call her on it. And she doesn't try to shame me.
Looking back ,as an adult, I realize that she was dismissive and emotionally unavailable. I was (and sometimes still), trying to win her approval, but she didn't (and still doesn't), have it in her.
I can only move forward. I can't change the past, although, I still think about it. I try to be less reactive to things she says and does now because I don't want to lose myself, who I became, away from that influence.
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rm2019 Apr 2019
Your mom sounds like an exact clone. We could be clones as you describe experiences exactly. In fact, I recently had a short discussion with someone with some background with this and she immediately said "PASSIVE AGGRESSIVE" like you. Goes along with her use of the silent treatment to spouse, extreme procrastination and more.

The facts that you, me and others in similar situations recognized, coped and CHANGED for the better but parents did not shows that their behavior is a FREE CHOICE - sorry but I disagree with those who want to make excuses for a parent's potentially tough childhood which made them abusive - the parents had a LIFETIME to recognize and correct. Many of us put the HARD WORK into understanding the tough situations where we've been and where we are now going and ADJUST our personalities for the better - not use the excuse that everyone else in the family tree did it too. In my humble view, that's the lazy way out for them.

Sorry to hear that the behavior is back in your life. But it must be a relief that you know what is going on and hopefully now have the "upper hand" in managing it - it's much more of a powerful feeling (finally). Good luck and stay strong. You are a survivor (and thriver) too!
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Anonymous,

So sorry you had to go through the pain that you did. You can’t forget certain situations. You seem very strong to me. You are a survivor. It didn’t break you. In spite of the pain, it didn’t kill you.

There’s no denying that it shouldn’t have been that way, truly unfortunate. What was her childhood like? Do you know? I am not excusing her. Was she following a pattern? Was she aware of doing what she did? Is she a person who does not understand the need for an apology or redemption? So many things to think about.

I had a friend who had 7 brothers. I did not know her growing up. I met her years later as a young woman at the gym I worked out in. We were both in our 30’s at the time.

We became friends and often exercised together, showered, did laps in the pool, then relaxed in hot tub at the end of the evening.

She confided in me about her extremely abusive mother. I won’t even repeat the abuse because it is too sickening. For some reason her mom only abused my friend, not the brothers. This happens, a ‘target’ child. The brothers weren’t nice either.

The dad walked out on the family. She had a limited relationship with him later in her life. Her life was awful.

This woman was familiar with abuse and ended up in two abusive marriages, one husband beat her so badly that she had brain damage. He literally beat her head like he was in a boxing ring. After that, she shut out the entire world.

She told me that she hated the world and everyone in it. I tried to help her. She broke, completely broke. She tried to kill herself more than once. Her abusive husband had her committed to a mental hospital. She refused visitors. She isolated herself from everyone. She wouldn’t take phone calls from anyone.

She started drinking heavily. I lost track of her. Heard she moved back north where she grew up. I wish she could have healed. Once she told me that she asked her mom to admit the abuse. She didn’t even expect or want an apology, just an admission but her mother wouldn’t do it.

You aren’t like my friend. I’m sad that you experienced pain. I am not making light of your situation. Really, I am not but I am so proud of you for being the independent individual that you seem to be.

I have no idea if my response is helpful or even appropriate but I hope you can see what I see which is a very strong person. Take my response for whatever it’s worth.

I wish you all the peace and happiness the world has to offer in the days ahead and hope that your pain subsides into a distant memory for you. Mega hugs!!! Take care.
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I had a happy childhood until about six, then I felt like a shadow, I guess. A shadow of my drug addicted brother. No support groups, terrible confusion, fear, sadness, loneliness, anger, desire to be part of a family without addiction, lots of different emotions at different times.

Wasn’t until an adult that I was able to come to terms with it all. I went through a time of bitterness, which really weighed me down. Glad to be free of that. Therapy helped.

Crappy circumstances, I blame no one. My brother is dead. I wish it could have been different for all of us. When I became a mother I went through new emotions. Life isn’t perfect, can be very complex.

Love for others, forgiveness for others and ourselves is so important. Understanding God’s mercy and our own mercy and compassion about things beyond our control helps enormously.

Learning strength when we feel our weakest! That’s a great accomplishment. That strength comes after learning humility, enough to be able to reach out for help.

In the end to allow ourselves to feel joy in the most challenging, difficult times.

Accepting apologies, recognizing remorse even from those who are not for whatever reason able to apologize.

Realizing that love is there even if we can’t feel it at that time. Sometimes we are running on fumes. Sometimes autopilot. Not giving up.

Seeing and appreciating gratitude from others we care for whether they deserve it or not.

All of these things are hard. I have struggled and continue to struggle through them but it isn’t nearly as hard as it used to be. Thanks for listening.
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I had food and shelter but was forbidden clothing--it might have made me attractive. I still lack basic clothing and am wracked with guilt if I buy anything.

My "mother" gave my brother and sister nice clothes, swimming lessons, horses and cars. I learned to swim in the college pool to qualify for a mandatory phys ed credits. My mother made special dinners for my brother, then my sister, but my turn never came. I don't remember even one birthday cake or present growing up but they got candlelit dinners on linen tablecloths. Once she agreed to meet me in Mexico for a few days vacation because we were going to be there at the same time, but she never showed up. This the pattern of her treatment of me all of my life. She has NPD.

I was miserable growing up and moved 3,000 miles away the morning after hs graduation. I visited for 30+ years but she was increasingly so rejecting that at 44 I became completely estranged. She lies, gaslights, stonewalls and manipulates everyone in the family away from each other and toward herself. She's turned her three grandsons into yes-men--they're ruined. She's a monster, really.

I came back two years ago, hoping to help to her in her old age. She's almost blind so lost her license last summer and is housebound. But she's a bigger witch than I ever could have imagined so I pulled away again, completely and finally. She deserves what she's getting.

You should go with your gut and not be swayed by anyone. Your mother has never apologized or made amends to you so let her have the consequences of her behavior.
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Oh my word, not showing up for vacation! Have to ask you, did she give a good explanation why?
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This is to all who have posted here....thank you for sharing your story. It is so sad that there is/was so much abuse of every kind....verbal, physical, emotional and sexual.....after years of therapy from a 21 year very abusive marriage, i realized a lot of things about my childhood wasnt good. My parents wernt mean but they were more spare the rod, spoil the child. My mother did and still worries so much what other people think about her and i know she has been embarrassed by my sister and i on occasion...,i used to be like her and tried to please everyone. I have finally reached a point in my life that i really do not care what people think about me. You either like me or you dont, and if you dont, it's your loss. And now i have no problem standing up for myself, creating boundaries and being a strong, independent woman.
my prayers are for all of us to be able to overcome the past, move forward to be the wonderful people that we are!!!
we are survivors. We are strong. And hopefully we will have the strength, courage and tenacity to take care of our parents the best we can, whether they live with us or they are in a facility...,
much love and blessings to all of yall out there. This forum is such a blessing and i have certainly learned a lot about this horrific disease alz/dementia. Take care everyone!!!
Elizabeth
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