First, to give some background info. My parents had me late in life... I was the "oops" baby. My sister and brothers are much older me. I am the only child that remained in the same town as my parents.

I first became a caregiver to my father. He was in his mid-70s when he passed away (in 2003). He had congestive heart failure. In the 2-3 yrs before he died, I was his primary caregiver, even though my mother lived in the home with him. I was married... had my own family. I worked fulltime. I checked on him in the mornings, during my lunch, and after work. She often took long vacations with her friends... usually when he was at his worst. During those times, I was with him nearly 24/7. He would get depressed quite often as my mother would tell him on many occasions that he was a nuisance because he couldn't take care of himself. My dad had a "troubled past"... in his younger years, he wasn't the best husband and parent to my other siblings. According to them, he was abusive and drank alot. I had figured that this was the reason behind my mother's behavior back then... why she was so mean to him when he was so helpless... it was her revenge. He was never mean to me... quite frankly, he spoiled me rotten! So I felt much anger and bitterness towards my mother. I was convinced that she had tampered with his medications and that's why he died. My dad knew she wanted him gone. She did not shed a tear at his funeral. It took a bit of time, but I did eventually put those hard feelings aside, and have spent the years since my dad's death looking after my mother. She's never needed the care that my dad had needed as she is pretty active for her age. The only major help she's needed is in moving from apartment to apartment (6-7 times since 2004). And she has been good to me over the years... a huge help financially... giving me money here and there. She has also been the main source of income for my son, who is in college. She has paid for all his living expenses. I've always told her how much I've appreciated her help over the years... a lot of what I have now is because she helped me get it. I have a strained relationship with my three siblings, I'm guessing because I was always considered the spoiled baby of the family.

Recently, my mother decided to move to a different apartment AGAIN. When she told me she was considering the move, I told her it was her decision, but I would not be able to help her this time. I told her she had two strong boys who could help her. Neither of them helped much with her prior moves. Not only was I burnt out from all the prior moving, I also had many vacations and other events planned during the month she wanted to move. I told her I would do what I could when I was available. She said she understood and she would get other people to help. One brother came to help mid-month and my other brother was set to come at the end of the month. She did a lot of packing herself. I went over after work on occasion and on the weekends I was in town. A few days before the big final move, I stopped by to see her after work... I wanted to see what else I could do to help. To my shock, she started yelling at me and physically attacked me. I couldn't believe that my 82 yr old mother was acting like this!! She called me an ungrateful little b*tch... called my husband a rotten bast*rd. She gave me an itemized list of everything she's given me from the time my son was a small child to recently... and told me she wants paid back everything or she'll take me to court. I don't know what triggered this outburst. I talked to her the night before the outburst and she was fine... I told her I'd be over after work to help her. She said "ok, see you then." She has told me she never wants to see me again. I am not sure how to handle this. Do I go over to her apartment and see if she'll talk to me? Do I give her what she wants, which is never to see me again? I'm at a total loss. I've always been there for her, up until recently. And she knew I wouldn't be available this time. I don't know if her friends said something to get her fired up... or maybe my brothers complained about my lack of help? I'm assuming it has to do with my lack of help, but I can't be certain as she wouldn't tell me why she's mad. She just kept yelling at me for how ungrateful I am. A part of me is hurt, but the other part of me is very angry. The resentment I tucked away years ago has flared up again. Even though she has been a very giving person, I am not sure if I want to see HER again. Does anyone have suggestions?

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Wornout1~Your mother will try all kinds of things to manipulate you once you start standing your ground and setting boundaries. If she says she is in need of medical help, call your brothers or an ambulance. If she threatens suicide call 911. If she is anything like my mother, she won't ask your son the the money back but she will ask you. As N1K2R3 said, those nasty letters...I get them too, unfortunately, my mother targets my sister the most partly because it upsets her more than me and also because she isn't married and my mother is afraid of men. I spent two hours on the phone with my mother last week redirecting her attention and reassuring her that my sis and I can't put her in a NH against her will. I redirected her attention to my sis's health issues so she would stop harassing her with accusations. It actually worked. I am not saying that you should not have empathy for your mother, but you have to protect your mental and physical health first. If you could get some therapy to help you set boundaries and learn to emotionally detach it will alleviate a lot of the stress. We are here to help you and support you in whatever you do. Take care!♥
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This morning my Mother accused me of trying to "take" her car. Her car is 16 years old and has almost 200 thousand miles on it. One thing I have noticed with my Mothers anger is that it comes out when she is feeling vulnerable & also when I am not doing what she wants me to do. It is very hard but I do not play into those games with my Mom. It is almost as if she wants some kind of confrontation so she can take out her frustrations on me. Not really that unusual as she did that with my Father for as long as I can remember. So the little bit of advice I can offer is to just let it role off your back and not take it personally. Because they are our parents does not mean that they are always right... a lot of times they are just plain wrong!!
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Dear Wornout1, Let "the two strong boys" help her move. Stay away from the apartment. Do not become confrontational with her via phone or in person.
Be on the lookout for a nasty letter, with embellishments, sent to your son requesting the money back that she gave him. Ignore it. The money was a gift, not a loan. Do not let the guilt heap upon yourself. If you spend your vacation during the move, so be it. Best heartfelt wishes to you.
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Thanks for the comments. I knew I was not alone in my feelings (and others have gone through worse), but it's always nice to have confirmation that others know how I feel. I'm not aware of any support groups for this type of situation where I live, so I'm glad I found this site!

I have decided to distance myself from my mother. I know that she is sick, but I just can't put the hurt aside... not right now anyway. She has treated all of her kids like this over the years. About three years ago, it was my sister and one of my brothers... she said awful things about them. Then she got mad at my other brother last year. I guess I never dreamt that she would treat me the same way! If I had been paying more attention, I would've realized that her behavior towards the siblings wasn't right and maybe had her seek some type of therapy back then. Instead, I ate it up because I don't get along with them. I only communicate with one of my brothers, and not that often.

She HAS had mental issues in the past. When I was in high school, she had a mental breakdown. She thought the Feds had her phone tapped... if the UPS guy parked in front of our house for any length of time she thought that he was a spy. Everyone was out to get her. We finally convinced her she needed to go get therapy at a mental facility. We thought she was "cured" but maybe she needed long term care??

At any rate, my mother has always seemed to mend ties with her kids eventually. So I'm sure she'll contact me when she has relaxed, or needs my help with something.

Again, thanks for "listening" and the comments. I appreciate the support!
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I am sorry for what you are going through... I can relate... My Mother has been difficult for almost as long as I can remember! I am the caregiver in my family and so when Mother needs anything it is me and my beloved husband. My sisters are somewhat oblivious... and do not live close! She has dementia and can say really hurtful and unkind things at times. She will then be nice as can be when she needs something... I would encourage you to back away for a period of time. Let her as it were "shift for herself". She will come around when she needs something.... I know this is NOT easy I encourage you to take care of you. I do know that even with dementia they can still be manipulative. take care...
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I'm sorry to say but your mother is a punisher. She is also a scorekeeper and is wielding anything she has ever given/done to/for you against you. She is using you as her scapegoat. Never mind about your two brothers -- they will be excused by her as they are "busy" or "working" or "out of town", whatever. You will never be able to do right by her, no matter if you help her move 80 times.
You should be able to see that when she is not getting her own way or what she wants from you, she is lashing out at you. She didn't get mad at you the night before but saved it up for the next day when she could do the maximum hurt on you.
I have the same thing with my mother, who has helped us in many ways over the years, but she has "kept score" with what she has given me with my sibling and it always has to be equal. If you don't do what she wants or give her what she wants, you are labelled as ungrateful and then the litany begins: "I just can't imagine how you can behave this way when I've given you so much"
"You must have forgotten what I did for you in 1985 when you needed my help"
and it just goes on and one.
This is so they can maintain and establish control over you so they can manipulate you.
My suggestion to you would be to detach from her for a while, for your own sanity, and see how she is trying to puppet you. Don't worry, she will be calling you when she needs something and can't get your siblings to do it. They have learned to distance themselves from her and help the least amount possible and now it is your turn to do it. Good luck to you!!
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Wornout: One of the things that caught my attention in your post was your mom's need to change apartments so often. I was wondering what the reason(s) were. As financially generous as she has been with you and your son, I'm guessing it wasn't due to rent being raised. So why does she want to move so often? I'm just wondering if maybe she has some underlying anxiety and it acts out with moving or changing things.

This sounds like a very sudden change in the way your mom behaves towards you. Has she done anything like this before? I agree that she might be dealing with some sudden onset of dementia, but is it normal (whatever that means) for someone with dementia to want to move to new surroundings? That seems out of character with dementia, but I'm no expert. Jeannegibbs could address that question better than I.

My GUESS/THEORY is that MAYBE your mom felt slighted that you were not available to help her with the move. This might have been an underlying agitation initially. Then your brothers came in to help. In my experience, men seem to need more direction than women do. Your mom is use to you and you know her, maybe her sons stressed her out with the way they did things or the amount of direction they needed. If, on top of that, they voiced resentment at her direction and things were said that caused her pain, she may be holding you responsible for putting her in that situation.

You have explained about how your sibs felt about your dad, but how did they feel about their mom? Did she protect them or love them the way she has loved you and your children?

With the way you describe your mom's behavior when your dad was ill, it sounds like she leaves the scene when things are at their worst. Maybe that is a protective measure she takes because she just can't deal with the weakness or the stress of the situation. Maybe she can't deal with her own weakness.

She stayed with your dad. Maybe because of financial reasons or maybe because they finally got their shit together enough to raise one child with love and affection. Still, she might have had a lot of anger toward him for past hurts and issues with previous children. They were her children too and knowing they were mistreated might be a big shame to her, because she couldn't make it right at the time.

Maybe you are her new normal; a child who has cared for her father and her mom. Someone that does not share the history that your sibs share and also she shares with them. By not being there, you changed her normal. If she has underlying anxiety issues and a great need to escape from what is painful, she may have just been pushed too far outside of her comfort zone. Maybe she is more fragile than you realize.

Something happened; that's a given; something big. It could be dementia, it could be that your brothers did something, it could be PTSD. Who knows? If it was me, and this is just based on what you have said and all your mom has done for you, I think I would go see her and tell her you are sorry you let her down. Tell her that you didn't mean to cause her pain and upset during this move. Keep the conversation focused on the move and don't take the bait on anything else. The move is the key. What happened and how could you have protected her? See if you can reach her. This will require you to put your past anger aside and just try to talk to the woman who has tried to be a friend and support to YOU. YOU are special to her in a unique way. She isn't perfect, but she isn't all bad either. Who knows what shoes she walked in years before you came into the world.

I'm just throwing out some thoughts here and all I have to go on is your post so please excuse me if I am way off base. Do your best to reach her. In the future she may need medical care and someone she can trust to speak for her. I think you would be best at that so I am hoping that you can mend this, regain her trust and learn something from this experience.

Sending you love and heartfelt best wishes. Cattails.
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Wornout1~It sounds to me as though your mother has a history of holding grudges as you mentioned how she treated your father in his last years. This does not mean you did something to deserve her wrath. It means that your mother may have a personality disorder or she has a big problem in communicating what she really feels. I tend to think she has a personality disorder but I'm not a psychologist. It sounds like your mother has a victim mentality and her anger was triggered by your lack of help (not your fault, you can only do so much to help) and possibly your brother/s encouraged her rage. It also sounds like you are trying to set boundaries with your mother which is a good thing but it will cause her to act out towards you. My suggestion is to continue to set boundaries with her. She won't like it, but she as long as she is able to care for herself, why should you be available to her 24/7. Yes she is elderly, but that does give her the right to verbally abuse you, monopolize your life, and attack you physically. I also suggest you look up information on setting boundaries or better yet, check out the thread on this site regarding dysfunctional families. You will read about a many people dealing with similar issues and gain insight on how to handle it. Jeannegibbs suggestion of therapy is great advice and I hope you follow through. Take care and let us know how you are doing and how we may help!♥
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Jeangibbs, you and cattails always have such insight. I agree with you so much. Wornout1 don't take this personally. You seem very sensative and loving. Your mother is very lucky to have you. Please keep us posted on how you're doing. We want to be here for you. And as Jeangibbs has said, see a counselor to help you unload. This is a great weight on your shoulders even without the family drama. Don't let it get you down.
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Wornout1, sometimes I am surprised to see a post that is a few days old that I have not seen before, even though I am a "regular" on here. I suspect it is a matter of timing and the new post just gets pushed down in the stack by a flurry of activity. Please don't take the lack of responses personally ... your post is just fine.

Hurt. Angry. Resentful. Those all seem "normal" responses to me.

But what is going on with your mother? Are you to blame? In a word, No.

A sudden and drastic change in behavior and personality is almost always an indication of something going on medically. This could be a uti, believe it or not, or she may have had a small stroke. Or she's mixed up her medications. SOMETHING triggered this odd behavior and I think we can rule you out as a cause. Of course that happens to be what she is focussed on, but that doesn't mean it is your fault. Maybe something your brothers said or a comment by a friend contributed to Mother's breakdown, but really, if she were strong and stable, that would not be sufficient to get her to physically attack the daughter she has been close to.

Your mother is sick. Sigh. I don't know what exactly that means for your decisions about what you are going to do, but I hope you will keep it in mind. Mother is Sick. This is Not Your Fault. (And most likely not her fault, either.)

Is your relationship with your brothers such that you could discuss this dramatic change in behaviors with them? Could you all set aside your less-than-close family history and brainstorm about what is best for Mother at this point? You know the situation best, and there is no point in just stirring up more stress for yourself if that is what you think would happen. In an ideal family, the kids would all work together to figure this out, but there are far fewer ideal families than Normal Rockwell painting would suggest!

Since I really believe this has a medical cause, I also believe she should have a medical examination. How to arrange that is the question of the day, isn't it? Does she see a doctor regularly? Do you know who it is?

Your mother's behavior with your father was really pretty strange, too. Divorce or separation? Yes, I can see that. But mean-spirited revenge? That suggests to me that your mother's mental health may not have been in the best condition for years.

I am glad that you had a good relationship with your father, in spite of how other family members related to him. I am glad that you seem to have had several years in a decent relationship with your mother. I am very sorry for the upheaval you are experiencing now. Keep firmly in mind that this is Not Your Fault.

The nonsense about you paying your mother back is just that -- nonsense. Don't dignify it with a response. She's going to take you to court? "Do whatever you think best, Mother."

I strongly suggest that you see a therapist. Not because there is anything "wrong" with you and that you need to be "fixed." But that you have had the misfortune of a very screwed up family situation, and you deserve some help dealing with that.

I hope that your mother gets the medical help she needs and that your relationship can be restored to a healthier level. As much as you love her and would like to see this happen, it may be beyond your control.

Keep us posted on how this unfolds.
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I do think dementia is setting in; perhaps with another mental health issue that was never recognized before? My mother has behaved in a similar fashion and takes all her anger about everything out on me. I was the one always trying to please; and truly think it doesn't even matter to my mother - she just expects it of me. And when I don't do just what she thought I should do, she lashes out, similarly to what your mother did to you.

My sister rarely even calls and I do all the caretaking - always have. Personally, I would try to keep a distance for a while - let her cool off and also it will help her realize she can't "get to you". And try to manipulate you. Once this sort of behaviour starts, it only gets worse. Just try to be prepared from now on for outbursts, etc. when she doesn't get what she wants.

Hope things get better for you. My mother has been acting like this for 30 years now and only got progressively worse over the years. Hugs to you and take care.
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I feel for you with your situation. I really don't have an answer to your issues, but I do understand how you feel. You are not alone.
I would probably try and go see her, because I always want to please everyone. I need to realize that I can't always please everyone. Your other sibs that have left you alone to care for your Mom should be ashamed of themselves. I have a Sister like that.
You have been a wonderful daughter, and are doing a great job. You have done way more than your share. Also, you do not owe money or anything to your Mom. If she gave you $$$'s and posessions as gifts, then she did it because she wanted to. It sounds like dementia is really kicking in for her. She also sounds like her past anger issues are coming to the edge again.
Like I said, I have no answer. I would try and go see her again, and if she is evil again, then let her go. I have noticed that generation seems to be very fixated on money and possesions.
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A little disappointed here... although my experience with my elderly mother is not as big as what other people have gone through... I was still hoping for some advice. Did I share too much? Not enough? :(
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