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As many know my dad died last year, a saint, but my mom is a nut case. Demanding, unappreciative, unrealistic about what I should be doing for her, etc. etc.


She moved into a senior apt (independent) but still has her home, which she did nothing to prepare it for a sale now expects me to help her, yet when I help, doesn't like it. My out of state brother cleared out tons of junk last May and she would not let us throw it away, and it is still there, and it IS junk.


Trying to keep this to the subject. I go there 2, perhaps 3 times a week. That is not enough for her even though the apartment has a van to provide rides to shopping malls, medical appts. etc. She does not like that. She wants me to drive her around


Still, plenty of do to help. Every time I go there, I resolve in my mind that no matter how nutty and insulting and frantic she gets, I will stay cool, calm and collected and not yell at her or treat her disrespectfully.


But she keeps at it, being frantic, intense, hurling insults of how little I do, saying how much her friends kids do, blah blah blah


Inevitably I blow up with raising my voice, expletives, etc. Then I go home not only feeling abused by her, but feeling mad at myself I cannot control myself, but its like shes almost not happy until I blow up.


At the same time, no matter what I do its not enough. Small thing but no matter when I choose to leave, even after eight hours of servitude, she asks if I cannot stay longer.


She is not pleasant to be with and I don't want to stay longer. Yet no matter how long I stay, its always, cant you stay longer. I never go home feeling like I did a good job for her.


Two issues: I know its on my to deal with the guilt. She can impose guilts on me all she wants and I have to learn not to accept it. But also, I wish I could keep control of myself, no matter how much she abuses me.


I read about this graystoning or grayrocking or whatever it is, not responding with any emotion but she does not like that. She keeps on me and on me until I blow up.

Karsten, it's none of your mother's d@mn business how you spend your time.

Thats why you need a therapist.

I'm sorry to be blunt, but you are emotionally tied to your mother in a very sad and dysfunctional way.

You are an adult. She is an adult who is solely responsible for her own maintenance and happiness.

I'd take a two week vacation and let her fall back on her own resources a bit.

You are not her guardian. You are NOT responsible for her.
Helpful Answer (9)
Reply to BarbBrooklyn
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When I married, just a few weeks after we moved for hubby's law school, mthr called me up to tell me she was going to move to my state/town/county. I thought I was getting away - the calls were limited to only an hour or so once a day (or twice if hubby wasn't home the first time), and I did not have to see her on a regular basis. I was still enmeshed - I had to make her happy. I could not do that and have a husband and child. I crumpled under the news of her move. I got into therapy that week.

Karsten, you are spending too much time with mom. It does not matter if you are not working, your time is *yours* not mom's. You can say NO. You can chose to answer the phone. You can chose to be abused. You can chose to walk away.

Mama won't like it. Tough kitty.

She's a big girl and I believe she can pull up her big girl panties and figure out how to live without you being her punching bag. I've seen my mthr recover from my removal from her realm (yes, I stopped talking to her for a while to get some good boundary training). She was fine - she actually started having breakfast at the diner where other people like her ate. I absolutely have every confidence that your mom can do the same.

Now it's time to gird your loins and do battle with yourself. You do need to practice saying no. I've found the Boundaries book but there's also a video series online by Henry Cloud who was a coauthor. Dr. Laura on XM or on her podcast is great for learning how to loosen mama's ties. Just like I know your mom can figure out life without you, I know you can figure out life without the excuse of having to be there for mom - real life is much easier! With unemployment at an all time low, there has to be something to occupy your time.
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Reply to surprise
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Of course she does not like it when you do not respond, that is because you are not giving her what she needs.

Stop jumping when she says jump. If there are options for her to get to appointments, shopping etc, stop providing her a ride. Next time she calls, just say, no I am not available to drive. You will have to take the van.

Stay away a week or two, or until the end of the year. You do not have to see her on Christmas.
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Reply to Tothill
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You are not her servant, you need to back off and set some boundaries. Stop catering to her every need. She can take the shuttle bus, too bad if she doesn't like it, then she can hire a chauffer. I was very clear to step parent & my mother, we will not be hauling you around, call Uber of take the shuttle. If it is an important medical issue I will take you, otherwise you are on your own.

Don't visit her as often and definitely don't stay all day...why? Let her make her own friends, being a helicopter daughter is not the answer.

When you do go there and she starts putting you down, pick up your things and leave, no explanation, just go, for the rest of the day don't answer the phone. If you are not strong enough to not answer the phone, block her. When she questions you, tell her why and that you will leave every time she starts on you...and do it.

You have no boundaries and she knows it. As for guilt, that is a self imposed emotion, that solves absolutely nothing, a total waste of time and emotion, turn it around and be at peace with what you do for her.
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Reply to anonymous912123
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Kkarsten, I have a simple question: why would you stay in the presence of someone,ANYONE, who was verbally abusive to you?

She is someplace where there are folks to look after her.

Visit once a week for ONE hour or until she starts in. Get up and leave "I'll see you soon ma" and walk out. DON'T ENGAGE WITH HER. Dont answer. Just leave.

Are you seeing a therapist?
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Reply to BarbBrooklyn
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It's very simple to define and enforce boundaries now that your mother is safe in LTC. It just may be difficult for _you_ to change your mindset after previously needing to attend to her care needs. By continuing to be at your mother's beck and call, you are preventing your mother from adjusting to IL live. This is why IL/AL/MC/NHs ask the family to not visit _at_ _all_ for the first several weeks.

Whenever your mother begins any abusive vernacular, say "Sorry Mom but I'm not going to listen to any abusive rants. Maybe our visit next ____ can be longer" and walk out the door. If it's a phone call, hang up.

When your mother asks you to drive her somewhere the facility's van could take her say "Mom, you need to schedule that with the van service." If your mother replies negatively or abusively say "Sorry Mom you need to use the van, goodbye."

Set her number to go directly to VM and check it only 1-2 times a day. Let your mother become accustomed to using the IL resources. You will both be better off.
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Reply to TNtechie
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Karsten, I am very sad to hear this is still going on and nothing has changed. It just moved from her home to a facility. And, it’s concerning that when she passes, you will still be beating yourself up: “I didn’t do enough, do it often enough or well enough.” And, you are most likely still suffering guilt from your father’s death.

Your life is passing you by. I’m sure we’ve said this to you before, but you and Mom are still enabling each other. I have to wonder if, in some odd way, you both enjoy this cat and mouse game.

Have you ever sought counseling with the specific intent of learning how to deal? If so, did you give it a chance? If not, you need to explore the possibility.
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Reply to Ahmijoy
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One little thing that might help a bit - you already know that she will whine when you leave "Can't you stay longer?" whether you are there for 2 hours or ten! SO, stay a shorter time, a time that is ok FOR YOU. And then just let her whine when you leave. When she asks if you can't stay just a little longer, firmly tell her no, this is all the time I have for this today. It's almost like conversation for her, it pushes your buttons, hard -- but it's just the way she says good bye really.

Sending [[[hugs]]] your way, because it is sooo hard!
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Reply to calicokat
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My oldest, now deceased, brother lived in an independent senior apartment. They are very nice as far as supplying necessary needs to seniors.

I did the same for my brother as you are doing for your mom. I was taking him to all of his doctor appointments, surgeries at the hospital and grocery and pharmacy shopping. I can see being there for a person who is having surgery. That’s a legitimate need.

I excused him because I knew he suffered numerous injuries from his motorcycle accident and he was in poor health. Eventually I did stop caring for him due to the stress. I had my mom living with me. It was too much.

If your mom is in good health and capable of riding the shuttle bus they provide for her to go for medical treatment, grocery and pharmacy trips, then I would remind her that her senior community offers several services that she needs to use.

Do not put this statement in the form of a question! Do not say, ‘Don’t you want to ride the shuttle or say You can ride the shuttle, Okay?’

When she responds with, “I can’t do that.” Don’t continue the conversation. She heard what you said. No need to repeat it for her to object and then the two of you are going back and forth like a yo-yo. Do not create more conflict. Of course, she will be upset. She’s going to give you backlash. It is upsetting.

What is more upsetting though? To succeed in getting your life back even if you catch backlash as you are walking out of the door or hanging up the phone or giving in and hating the trap that you are in?

Take it from me. I stayed in misery with my brother and my mom a lot longer than I should have. I totally regret having done that.

Take the advice of the wise people who have posted. We have all been in your shoes. Not easy but you can free yourself from this misery.

Best wishes to you.
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Reply to NeedHelpWithMom
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Short and simple. Cut you visits to once a week. The first time she insults you warn her that you will not tolerate her abuse. The second time, turn the car around and return her home. No discussions, just drop her off and leave. Try again next week. It might take a few weeks but I bet she eventually backs off. And if she doesn't at least you have the rest of the day to do as you please.
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Reply to lkdrymom
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