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My husband and I are buying a house chosen to accommodate my mother, who has very limited ability. She hasn't moved in with us yet, but that will happen in the coming months. My mother has very limited mobility due to inactivity, pain, and fear. Those three factors have been a huge feature of her life for 10 years. She's fallen and been in accidents that have left her afraid to move, which has made moving more difficult and more painful. She walks very, very slowly with a walker, even after extensive physical therapy. Watching this from a distance, I've become more and more focused on my own strength, flexibility and fitness. Can you see the conflict coming? I am already struggling with fury at the way she's allowed herself to become trapped in her body. She has a history of childhood abuse, suffered through a bad marriage and divorce (from my father), and a major career disappointment when she tried to become a pastor. She just wants to be comfortable now, and to be taken care of. I get that. But she dwells so much on the negative. She loves her wounds so much, and I can't take it. It hurts to watch her hurt, and it makes me want to say things that I'm sure will hurt her further, because being hurt is what she does. Help!

It is a self-defeating cycle. Like you said, her fear and pain keep her from being more active which makes it more difficult for her to be active and adds to the fear and pain which makes it more difficult to be active.....etc.

You can try to talk to her but I suspect that she's not going to change. The damage has been done. I think there are 2 choices here: accept that this is the way she is or if you are unable to, find an assisted living facility for her. A possible 3rd choice would be to do some research on this site and concentrate on adult children who move their difficult parents in with them. Typically everyone ends up miserable. But your mom hasn't moved in yet so it's not too late.
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Reply to Eyerishlass
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Why on earth are you going to move a mother you are already furious with in to live with you? Just on the face of it, it seems like a lose-lose situation.

Has your mother been evaluated by a geriatric psychiatrist? Depression exacerbates pain. Pain worsens depression. It's a vicious cycle, and not one broken by pulling one up by one's bootstraps.

Start out by addressing your mom's mental health.

Then, I'm going to suggest you find a mental health professional to help you deal with your fury and seeming need or desire to prove yourself better than your mom.

 It's not a terrible thing, to want to need to be better, smarter, more successful than our parrents, as long as were aware of the sources. 

You must have had a difficult chikdhood, watching your father abuse your mother, and her helplessness to stop it or flee.
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Reply to BarbBrooklyn
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"Being hurt is what she does." Sounds like that is spot on. Some people unfortunately become so comfortable being "sick" and weak and have the victim mentality so much that they don't want to allow themselves to be happy or get better. Some also like the attention that it brings them.

I agree with Eyerishlass. At this age and stage of her life, chances of her changing are very slim. However, a good AL might be able to help her get more out of her comfort zone, and provide more opportunity for social activities. Can't make her participate, but she might accidentally enjoy herself. :)

I would not move her in with you. I did with mine, and I regret it. We are trying to get her moved to a facility so we can breathe again.
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Reply to FrazzledMama
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My best advice would be not to let feelings hide the truth. I actually have that statement written down and placed in a spot where I see it often. Never let feelings hide the truth. This includes her feelings and your own. If the situation becomes unsafe or something else drastic is wrong, everyone needs to focus on the facts themselves & try with all your might not to focus on who is exhausted, who looks like they could cry, who has had-it-up-to-here, who is placing blame, etc. My other advice would be to brace yourself for non-caregivers telling you what to do and questioning your judgment constantly. I was not prepared for that to happen. People will tell you "just put her in a nursing home" and they say it like it's not the diffcult, multi-faceted decision that it truly is.
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Reply to OverTheEdge17
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I keep it in a place where I'll see it often, but not where I'll see it constantly. For me, it's on the cover of a notebook to which I refer from time to time and that's where I see the written words. It's a helpful reminder and keeps it in the front of my mind without wearing it out such that its effectiveness is lost. Like, I'd say don't write it out and put it on your fridge because you'll see it constantly and will eventually start ignoring it without even realizing you are.

It's been years since I first heard it & I don't even remember who said it or if I read it in a book or something. Wish I could give credit, but suffice it to say I didn't think of it myself. I'd say days go by when I don't consciously say it to myself, but I think it's just a part of my outlook at this point & I wish I'd heard it sooner in life. It sure helped me through some tough caregiving times. There were still times when I was sad, sleepless, misunderstood, etc but being able to separate feelings from facts is crucial. If you've seen my other posts, I'm still recovering from being a caregiver and some wounds need more time since we're all human beings. But in terms of dealing with the reality of the facts as they presented themselves and doing what needed to be done for Mom at the time it needed to happen, I'm happy with my performance in general - even when the others' feelings (and sometimes my own) try to tell me otherwise.
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Reply to OverTheEdge17
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MBFoster, read this article to get a better idea what is in store if an elderly parent moves in. https://www.agingcare.com/articles/Living-with-Elderly-Parents-Do-You-Regret-the-Decision-133798.htm and also check out the over 350 comments at the end of the article.
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Reply to freqflyer
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Definitely a good therapist. I've been very grateful to have one that has helped me and my family to learn how to set boundaries and cope through this life-changing process.
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Reply to FrazzledMama
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MB, this is a biggie, do NOT beat yourself up when you get frustrated AND NEVER condemn yourself for your thoughts! Sometimes I look at my Mom and find myself thinking she'd be better off....gone. Her suffering hurts so bad. But I torture myself for these thoughts. Thank God for therapy.

If you find time to get out for some fun and unwinding, definitely do it. Don't stop getting dressed every day, keep up w/ your hair and beauty routine. It sounds dumb to hear now, but you'll get it later.

"I'm hilarious!" Haha!! I loved reading that. We have a blast with my Mom. We joke with her about everything....even how crazy she looked having a stroke. Twisted, I know but she laughs her pamper off.

I grew up with three brothers, raised three sons and jokes flew everywhere. Plus none of us have a filter! Only when it comes to our family and friends. We seem to attack people just as touched as we are. They say, you attract what you are! 🌞

Have fun with it as much as you can. Let us know how it's going.
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Reply to Pepsee
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FrazzledMama, EyerishLass, BarbBrooklyn, FreqFlyer -- you are all marvelous. Thank you for rallying around me!
The mom-moving-in thing is a decision that has been made. Moving her on to assisted living may come after that, when/if home-based living becomes impossible. I'm looking to do my best at this. Yes, there are wounds from the past. I'm trying to work on MY part in it so that there can be healing.
I just found a surprisingly fun article on learned helplessness*, and it helped me to see that my mom isn't the only one who tends to get trapped in the cycle. (Surprise? NOT) With you-all's help, and articles like this, I hope to be in good shape mentally for this next stage.
One thing I am seeing: I am going to have to be relentlessly positive. I'm going to have to make ground rules for myself, such as 1) EXERCISE to deal with stress, 2) find a way to laugh at myself daily (shouldn't be a problem -- I'm HILARIOUS!) , 3) for every negative, find a positive.
What other rules should I make for myself? Please keep the suggestions coming!

www.chillpill.io/learned-helplessness/
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Reply to MBFoster
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OverTheEdge17 - can you tell me more about that mantra you use?
Do you use it all the time, or just when emergencies happen?
How do you use it on a day-to-day basis?
I grew up in a household of eggshell tiptoeing and seething, and I DON'T want to go back there. I want a place where there's clear communication and straightforward action to solve problems (without excessive focus on feelings). That's the balance I'm looking for, I think.
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