I am confused by my own feelings after I help my 86 yr old mom.

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Part of the healing process is sharing one's story in a safe place like this. You have not shared too much of your story at all.

Take care!
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Reply to cmagnum


Congratulations for breaking the chain of dysfunction from your mother by raising your children to have healthy boundaries. I hope you feel really great about that.

It sounds like your mother seeks to trap you and possibly other's with Fear of not making her happy, Obligation to try making her feel happy and Guilt for not doing enough. It's called emotional F.O.G that people use to emotionally blackmail people with in order to control them.
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Reply to cmagnum
Lavenderblu Sep 1, 2018
How interesting, I have not heard of F.O.G.. I wonder how long that term has been around? I will do some research on that.

I so greatly appreciate all the info you have shared between your experiences and your wife's. I have been back home staying with my mom this past 3 weeks helping her to find a car. The whole experience has brought me to tears, exposing my feelings of guilt, inadequacy and vulnerability.

Clearly, it is all the issues that were not fully resolved from the past. Being alone with her, 24/7, in this apt. has been an enlightening, painful, and frustrating experience. However, I am glad I got the opportunity to become aware of what might be causing all this pain. I feel it's at least a place to start. A little direction to help me move forward and obtain some growth, maybe closure.

Five years ago I moved out of state and was jumping back and forth constantly because my siblings wouldn't step in and help her once I left.  I naively thought they would (sad).  Two years ago I decided I had to stop this crazy back and forth and put my foot down.  It was hard but it was the best thing for me, my family and my sanity.  She was angry with me at first and kind of gave me the cold shoulder.  But not too much because she still needed me. We have flown her down to stay with us during the holidays the past 2 years and she came for the birth of one of the grandchildren. But we have learned boundaries had to be set in place with that too by limiting the length of the visits to no more than 2 weeks.

I am so relieved I have found this forum. It has provided me with more support, hope, and insight than I have received anywhere else in the past 5 yrs.

All this drama with my mom has become much more clear. I just had no idea what I was dealing with. The move must have shifted the relationship bringing all the unresolved issues to the surface. Now I at least have a better understanding.

I apologize for sharing so much more of my story but if I learn from everyone else then maybe this will help someone else.

Thank you, again :))
I hit post instead of reply. Excuse my error. Thank you.
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Reply to Lavenderblu

I have felt the same way about my own 86 year old mom. My world revolved around meeting all her little needs. I felt resentment and under appreciated as well. I finally noticed how much I had enabled her. I have started to ask her to do more for herself. At first she would say she couldn't, but in the like manner one would treat a child, I began to pull back some; she began to take baby steps in doing more for herself. Even if they fail when they try, we shouldn't just assume they can't do anything. Sometimes I behave like I don't hear her and she makes attempts, which is a good thing.
I had isolated myself from grown kids, grandkids, always felt sorry for myself, but I'm slowly changing that. Outside relationships are important to keep our sanity and I am making that a priority because if I don't, I honestly feel she will outlive me. I just turned 60 and I want to write a new story for myself. I give kudos to myself for caring for her, but learning by practicing to put myself first sometimes. About feeling under appreciated: at their age they are seeking their comfort i.e. meals, tv shows and are used to having all provided. They are still human and as such, like all humans, when all is given up for them, they don't know how to appreciate, but specially more so in the elderly. Finding relationships for oneself is key. It takes time though. Don't give up! sometimes, we just have to put things in God's hands. He gave us other gifts that we are not using, and we need to focus on what those gifts are and sometimes we don't know what they are because we have become lost in living our lives for our elderly parent. Love is the answer to everything. Love them, but love yourself more. You will feel better. The better you become, the better person you can be for all who know you. Just don't give up. This is not our destiny.
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Reply to marcosm60
Lavenderblu Sep 1, 2018
Thank you, marcosm60. We have much similarity. I am 55. I have 3 adult children that I am very close to. Four brand new grand children. Three of those grand babies were born in the past 10 months!!! I try to spend 1 day a week visiting with each grand child. I spend no more than a few hours so as not to feel overwhelmed. . My adult children and their families all live within 10 miles of my home. My mom lives out of state, 12 hour drive, and where my 2 non-helpful siblings live. I feel torn inside asking, "Am I doing enough for my mom?" I choose to see my grand kids and choose how often, how much. With my mom it starts off as a choice but some how ends up feeling like an obligation. I told my husband it's like that book, "If You Give A Mouse A Cookie," lol. She always wants more!! You have helped me realize I need to take care of my needs too. Maybe give myself 1 day week to engage in friendships I currently don't have. You are also correct about this almost expectation from Mom that I am here for the sole purpose of taking care of all her needs. I am beginning to wonder, as was mentioned by cmagnum, if I have been "groomed" for this role my whole life? Provoking thought! I too, like you, feel God plays a role in this for me. He seems to be the conscience in me of when it's time for me to step up and help my mom and when it's time to "not hear" certain requests. I always ask myself: "If I were alone and old, how would I like to be treated by my children?" Since I feel my boundary setting capabilities are more developed than my mom's and I have raised my kids to set healthy boundaries, that has become my barometer of, "is this request from Mom reasonable or too much?" I certainly do not succeed in this internal conversation or I wouldn't carry the guilt, hurt, resentment, etc. But I'm trying to understand it all. I'm trying to learn balance. Self love is a work in progress :) Thank you for your response and input. It has helped a great deal !! Not having to experience all these feelings alone really helps :)))
Your feelings are normal. It is understandable that you have some resentment and hurt over your siblings absence from helping and your mother's lack of appreciation for the things you do for her.

It almost sounds like you are her "chosen one" that she groomed to be the one to do all that you do for her. If so, then that is a source of hurt, resentment and feel unappreciated.

May I ask if she met your emotional needs as a child or did she expect your focus to be on her emotional needs?
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Reply to cmagnum
Lavenderblu Sep 1, 2018
Greetings cmagnum,

Thank you for your reply. And most importantly, thank you for asking that very thought provoking idea of being the "chosen one" and of the "grooming" for that role!! Wow!!

I have been trying to sort out all these emotions that have shown up since her needs and dependency on me has grown as she's aged. I couldn't see past what I was feeling and kept asking myself, "where is this coming from?"

The answer to your question is, NO, she did not meet my emotional needs as a child. Her needs always came first. My needs were only seen as an extension of her needs. If that makes sense? I can feel this but putting words to it is difficult. Example, I will be expressing how I feel about something I am going through and she instantaneously turns the conversation onto herself and about her feelings when it happened to her.

I have a visual where I'm waving my hand saying; "Hello, Mom, I'm over here, the one actually experiencing this pain, right now, in the present. This is not about you." "Help" Lol. Excuse my joking around about it but sometimes it's so absurd humor seems to help.

Due to that penetrating thought, I realize there must be some unresolved issue here. Maybe enmeshment? But who, where and how did we get back here? Enmeshment with my mother? I thought that was resolved years ago during therapy.

I don't know. Maybe I'm barking up the wrong tree? Your question sure has hit something in my psyche. It's funny how we can have all these emotions circling around in our heads but cant string them together to make sense out of it. That's where the feeling of confusion steps in. It's like that saying, 'lost in the forest for all the trees.' Something like that anyway. You certainly have given me some food for thought. I welcome any other insight you may have :)))

I am new to this forum. I stumbled upon it simply by punching in the question, "I thought helping my elderly mother would make me feel good; why do I feel so bad?" And just like that, I found all of you. A community of people going through exactly what I am. Kismet! Or the grace of God! Whichever, I am eternally grateful that you were found.

Please, anyone who can share their experience, strength and hope, I am all ears. I am, at least, open to suggestion. I hope I can offer the same in return.

Thank you :)))
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