How do you take care of someone who is extremely belligerent, hates you and doesn't want to be near you, but can't live on their own?

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My mother-in-law had a stroke a few years ago. She was not able to live independently right away, so we moved her in with us and had to place my father-in-law in a nursing home. He passed away about 5 months later (which she blames on us). We have been taking care of her for the past few years, and we have reached our limit. She has always been an extremely manipulative person, and she will twist your words around to make you look like pond scum! She offered to take us out for dinner because we had been taking care of her, driving her to her appointments, going to the store for her, etc. The next day she told all of her family/friends (our family and friends too) that we were broke and couldn't afford to buy any food for ourselves, so she graciously offered to take us out to dinner, but now she couldn't pay for any of her medicines this month because of us! There are hundreds of these examples of her doing this. She hates me the most. She has told me I am the reason her son doesn't spend as much time with her as he should, I am a horrible mom and should have my kids taken away, etc., etc. We have tried to make her life as pleasant as possible, but she is such a hateful spiteful person, she doesn't want to be happy. She just wants to complain. She has told my kids "I know you don't love me, I'm just going to walk out the front door and never come back again" because we wouldn't drop everything and run to McDonald's for lunch. She has told my husband and me the same thing if we refuse to drop what we're doing and get her a glass of water. She is very demanding and wants to be treated like a princess and served breakfast, lunch and dinner on a silver platter. In her mind, that is the only way we are "taking care" of her is if we do that. She has diabetes, high blood pressure, arthritis and is overweight. The ONLY time she gets out of bed is to go to the bathroom a few times a day and to fix her meals. We stopped fixing her meals for her (she is VERY capable of doing it, just doesn't want to) so that she would be forced to get out of bed and do something. She is just a miserable person who doesn't want to change. If she has a headache, my husband will tell her to take some Advil. Five hours later she still has a headache, hasnt taken any Advil yet. The next day, same thing. She just wants to complain but not do anything to fix it.

My husband and I are at the end of our rope. We love his mom and feel guilty about not wanting her in our house any more, but she is not welcome in our home any more. She wants to live on her own, but then complains that nobody does anything for her. When we ask her how in the world she expects to get by on her own when she can't even do it here, she goes into the "I'll just crawl under a rock and nobody will miss me" thing and says she just wants to live by herself. Two minutes later she's made because nobody brought her lunch yet! I feel like I'm talking to a hamster running in a wheel!!

She doesn't have ANY money (just a little SS every month) and we really don't have too much extra, she doesn't really qualify for a nursing home or assisted living, we just can't have her here any more! I would love any suggestions you can give on how to deal with this.

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Boy I would dump her quick, its a sorry thing to say. I had my beloved mom with me until she passed in my arms, she was so tender, never a problem. Now that I am older my daughter wanted me to go stay with her and her family, my answer: NO! This is a turn around, she is exactly like the MIL you have been speaking of. She wanted me to stay and give her my SSDI check. Not even, my oldest grandson said when she got old she would end up in a "home" cause none of the kids would take her in...so funny...
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Bookworm, it was Joel O'Steen. You have to smile when you see this guy, he is always smiling. Not big on TV ministers but he is always pleasant to listen to. For some reason he moved me with his take on judging people and it was one of his best speeches. He has written books you can buy. I have never read them. But he is a very positive speaker.
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I have searched my heart and searched scripture and Christian websites on this topic, as that is from where I get my guidance. I finally found one that encapsulates all that I needed to know, with the appropriate biblical references. Don't ask me where it is, I didn't keep the link, but, it did finally loose me of any remaining guilt about caring for my narcissistic, borderline personality disorder, abusive mother at arm's length, and relating to my sisterm, who has similar problems, in a similar fashion. Scripture says to love your neighbour as yourself - not more than. As much as "honour your father and your mother" is quoted so also should "parents do not provoke your children" should be quoted. Even though it does refer to the bringing up of children, I think it has a general application, There are other scriptures regarding anger, being unkind etc. If God does not give you the grace to deal with a situation - and everyone is different - I think the message is pretty clear that something else has to be worked out. Brandywine1949 said that her mother had her love but she didn't have her life any more. That makes sense to me. The good samaritan gave immediate help to the wounded person and then found somewhere for them too be looked after, He also gave some money towards the needed services. To me this is a reasonable model. I doubt the good samaritan went broke doing this, but he provided within his means, and saw the person was cared for.

I agree madge - Do not feel guilty for one moment. Only you have lived your life and only you can know your pain,
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Madge, who was this motivational speaker? I'm curious.
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In a perfect world we would be kind in our youth and kind in our old age. We would honor our parents and love them as they have loved and cared for us. In a perfect world. But our world is not perfect. There are people with serious narcissistic behaviors that are destructive. No where does it say we must suffer for our parents, just honor them. You can honor from a distance.

just heard a wonderful sermon by a popular motivational speaker (one who I normally make fun of) about not judging and having empathy. It really hit home. We each have our own story and no one else can say what we should or should not do. Some people can not imagine a parent who is selfish and non loving. So I would just say to do what is best for your situation and do not feel guilty for one moment. Only you have lived your life and only you can know your pain.
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Well, I do agree that if it is emotionally abusive to continue, then help is needed. I myself am saying to my mom often "Mom I can't take it. She's so annoying. We have to put her in a home." My mother is essentially making the decision to keep her at home, so I have to deal with it. If there is nothing stopping you from making arrangements to have her moved, and if having her moved reduces stress on the family, then that is probably the better choice. Especially if the caretaker's marriage relationship is jeopardized; that is unacceptable.
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Bookwormneesa, of course it depends. It always depends. There is no one-size-fits-all in caretaking. I don't think that what lau0720 needs here is a lecture on the necessity of caring for one's parents and of doing the "right" thing (as if there were only one right thing and as if it were self-evident in this situation.) She and her husband have been caring for his mother in their home for a few years. They are at the end of their rope. They love her but cannot stand to deal with her demands 24/7. Many sons and daughters are in this situation. Personally, I don't think they are "wrong" to seek an alternate solution. I absolutely positively don't think that they should feel guilty about wanting to save their own sanity and marriage.

So you and I agree about the importance of caring for one's parents and we also agree that how to do it "depends." Where we part ways is that I don't think there is one "right" way, and that doing it "wrong" is a heavier burden than taking emotional abuse.
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jeanne it depends I think. In terms of health care, the doctors are best at that, and they can provide care in ways that we can't. When the elderly have health needs that are beyond our capacity, we must help them by giving them medical care.

However, emotions and happiness are unrelated. I think with many seniors, and especially my grandmother, she would rather be around you than people she doesn't know. That includes doctors or other seniors (at a center or nursing home). Seniors in general can't assimilate very easily to change. They have trouble trusting or understanding people they don't know from before. And also, when you put them in a nursing home, I imagine they can't have things exactly the way they want; they have to do things the way the nursing home is run.

When a senior is living at home, with someone she hates, getting care, this is probably what she wants more than going to a home. If she hates you, her daughter, then she would probably hate the doctors and other people she doesn't know even more. Maybe I'm wrong, but I don't know. If she really hated you and preferred those people, she would ask to leave you. But she doesn't, she chooses to stay with you. Maybe on some deep on some level, she is grateful to you. Or, more likely, she is used to you.

I think as long as your mother is able to think for herself and make decisions and meet physical needs close to the way she used to, then she probably will not need to go to a home. However, if she has really declined beyond the point that you can meet her needs, then it is best to leave it to the professionals.

If she is really unbearable to be around, and you feel abused, you can do a couple of things I think. a) If she is able to do things on her own and doesn't want you around, then don't help her. If she can get by without you, then you really are not obligated to care for her intensively. b) If she cannot do things without you, and has needs, then you could maybe hire someone to help her. I know money is not really the best thing to mention in these times, but maybe she will foot the bill.

I looked at your profile, it seems like you have a few people caring for her (your siblings). That's really great that you can help each other out and not get too worn out.
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bookwormneesa, I think that you are right. It is important that we take care of our parents. I just don't think that always means in-person, hands-on care. It some situations it is adequate -- in fact, better -- to see to it that our parents get the best professional care available to them.

Why would I force myself daily, hourly, on someone who hates the sight of me? Could that possibily be the best way to care for her?
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It is important to care for our parents, because they are the reason we're alive today. Also they probably raised us the best they could, and sacrificed a lot of time and money for us. (In the case of a parent who left the house and didn't give child support or something, I don't know. That person still created you.) And while they don't always expect anything in return for raising their child, they certainly deserve to be cared for by their children. The problem is when they are not loving to the person that is caring for them. It's hard because sometimes the parent thinks they still have the authority over their child, and the child shouldn't be telling them what to do. It takes a lot of wisdom to surrender the control and decision making to the younger person, the child. And yet the elderly don't often have the wisdom, because they are feeble-minded due to age. Or perhaps they have a personality that was always difficult to begin with.

My christian discipler told me something very valuable. "We should strive to be more Christ-like when we are young, because then we will be so when we are old." When we are old, we cannot change ourselves very easily at all. So what we want to become when we are old, whether happy or sad, is what we should be now in order to prepare for that. Caring for an elderly person teaches us this very thing. We shouldn't become bitter and impatient, even though it feels crummy to be criticized to the bone or abused. (I feel really bitter and yell myself sometimes, I admit.) But for our own health, for our own good, we should be kind to the people we care for. Not just in caretaking, but all our affairs. How would we like it if we were old, and someone was yelling at us? Even if we don't understand that it may be our fault that they're yelling, we still wouldn't feel very good.

Anyway what I'm saying is, we should aspire to be old people who are nice to be around. I know that doesn't help you in your situation with the belligerent mother, but in a way it does. Do things out of love. Wish for the best for her. It's the right thing to do, and makes us better people. And when we do the right thing, we feel happier. Because we don't have guilt on our consciences. Guilt leads to stress, which leads to poor health. Maybe we are run down now, maybe we are emotionally bruised. But this is much lighter a burden than being wrong. When you are wrong, nothing you do can make you feel better.
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