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My mother is 93 years old and a widow for 6 years. I am her only child. She obsessively worries about many things and is sometimes paranoid. Ie. Someone is taking her mail. She can be very controlling and frustrating. I often have to take a tranquilizer to deal with her. She refuses to take any medication besides Valium and only takes that to sleep. She has no friends as they all passed away. I am her only go to person. I feel very burdened by this.

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Sounds like at least she hasnt turned mean on you. It seems to me that all inhibitions are unrestrained at a slow increase and this is probably the way my Mom always was but restrained.
She told me the other day when she couldnt get me to jump for her "Go to hell!" I told her "Mom you dont get it. You have assured me a place in heaven and I want to thank you for that" I havent always done the right thing throughout my life but Im sure Im a "shoe'in" now. ; )
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Cm, that kind of stunt "I'll just take a cab" is passive-aggressive behavior at its best, but generally comes from a lifetime of negativity and neediness. If there is dementia beginning as well, this is a toxic brew, as her negative character traits may get intensified in the course of her decline.

Yes, get legal documents in order, but make sure you've got a therapist, good friends and this website on call. Learn to set boundaries with mom and if she says she's calling a cab come back with a neutral response like, "maybe that would be best". Don't argue with her and for heaven's sake, don't try to prove to her that you love her. It's a bottomless pit.
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Cmshul, after reading your posts, I thought I was reading my own. Almost everything you are going through is what I am going through. It is good that we have found this forum to get support and advice. Reaching out for help is a big & necessary step. I am sorry for everything that you are going through. Hang in there. Whether we believe it or not, we are always better for what we have gone through, if for no other reason than that we helped someone else in their painful time. This is what you have done for me by your sharing, and you cannot imagine how much it means to me.
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One of the best ways to keep myself in check is to come to this site and read about what others are doing. I've learned so much and realized that I am not alone. There are so many people doing things that I can't imagine for elders and disabled people. It helps me so much.

I would also mention that while our spirits are tested and tried, at the end of the day, we have learned so much about ourselves. I'm not the same person anymore and in some ways, that's a good thing.
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Sounds like a good plan Cmshul. I know how draining and exhausting the emotional stuff can be. I have had to pull back from my own elderly parents because of much the same reasons as yours. I understand the anger as well and it sounds like we are similar in that regard....rather than lashing out, the anger turns inward and becomes damaging to your well being...me too. Don't feel badly that you have difficulty ignoring your Moms attempts to manipulate you. A lifetime of dynamics is difficult to overcome. Even when you do find tools that work, employing them requires constant vigilance which is exhausting in it's own way.

Talking to others is very helpful and giving yourself permission to care for yourself is a life saver. I'm sorry you are feeling so low.
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Mother seems to have reverted back to "primal needs" mode here also. I find it hard to deal with and even repulsive at times. This will not improve but only get worse. I try to keep in mind that trying to change this behavior and "arguing" with her is a complete waste of my time.
I try to lean on my sense of humor mostly as it seems to defuse the inevitable explosion that I know is coming.
When unable to do this and get her to laugh I have set up an arrangement with a local friend who handles a lot of rental property. When Mom goes into her "I want you out" tantrums I drop an email to my friend and he sends over "available" for me to move into. As I know that much of the time she is looking over my shoulder I open the email and she can see that I have "started looking" for a place. You would be amazed at how quickly her tune changes if even for only a couple days. We do this dance about once a month now.
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I would certainly go ahead and get the legal documents in order as suggested above, especially the Durable Power of Attorney and Health Care Power of Attorney. You will need these things if she takes a turn for the worse. At her age, I would not delay.

Most people have a certain tolerance as an adult and I don't think that you are likely to change your level of tolerance at this stage of life. Unless you suffer from rage, then I would just accept myself and let it go. You have a right to be a little perplexed and exasperated at times. As long as she don't harm anyone, I don't see the harm.

My parents can annoy me too, but I try to ignore the small stuff. I will get riled up over big things like when my dad tried to get on the roof to clean gutters! That pushed my buttons and resulted in a pretty big sermon with lots of threats. lol But, the small things I try to tell myself, it's age, it's them starting to decline, just ignore it. I do what I can and then do what I want to do. They are not my boss and as long as I am kind and help them when they need help, I fine and so are they. There is no reason for guilt.

I would also start considering options for her long term care. What would happen if she was bed bound? Would you go in and care for her? Arrange for a team of others to care for her? I'd consider all of that now, as it is very stressful to do it in a crisis, such as if she falls and breaks something. Good luck.
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This site is so wonderful. The drama has died down but I still feel raw and very distant from my Mother. The story was that I was going to take her somewhere and had to leave work early to do it. I was supposed to leave at two but got held up and told her I would be 15 minutes late. She said, forget it. I'll take a cab. I felt so manipulated and furious. Looking back, I probably overreacted but she has been pulling these stunts on me my whole life. Now, however my darling father is gone so there is no buffer and she has gotten a lot worse. I'm sure I'll warm up to her again with some time. Right now I call her once a day and keep it short. I don't call her on Saturday because I observe the sabbath and don't use the phone. I really enjoy that one morning. Thanks for listening. Hugs back to you.
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What happened to the website? There is no log in and no personal section where I can access my answers.
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Highclass, has your mom had a neuropsych workup? This sounds like the beginnings of some cognitive decline.
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I'm going through a similiar problem. My mom just turned 77. She has been a very independent woman who has not only taken care of her 4 children, but at least 6 grandchildren in her home as well as her aging mother for all of my life. My grandmother passed away 4 years ago. Since then, my mom drastically declined in her ability to physical independence, but not her ability to control every aspect of her surroundings. This means she is not willing to allow other family members to help her in cleaning her house, but she mostly feels no one wants to help her. My son has been living with my mom at my mom's house since the passing of my grandmother to prepare her meals. He's moving out which makes my mom feel a certain negative way. Now, we (her children) are trying to do a home make-over to rid it of bugs & rodents that have seeped in through the years while putting her in a hotel to stay while this is being taken care of. She is not happy and continues to ask, "Why am I here?" after the situation has been explained to her plenty of times. I do not have patience which she tells me all of the time. I don't have an answer for you, but I can surely sympathize. I need answers myself.
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Can you tell your mom you're taking the weekends off from now on? Call her daily but don't call on the weekend. She can call 911 with an emergency. I don't live with my mom but I call her 2X a day and do everything for her (food, meds, doc's visits, bills, take out garbage, shower her, etc.. I finally wised up and told my brother he HAD to call her on Sundays, so I could have one day off.

Just knowing I have ONE day a week without any contact with mom has really helped my mood. I can sleep in that morning and do whatever I want to do. I don't have to watch the clock for 8 AM and 6 pm to call. I can be gone or at a movie or whatever during those times. WOOHOO!!

Start with two days off and if that's not workable, then go down to one day a week. And make sure on that day (or those days) you do something you love to do and that energizes YOU. Having your own life with some fun will give you energy and patience to deal with your mom. Good luck and hugs from one caregiver to another!
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I'm much less worried! :) I was thinking back to our choice midnight scenes and trying to get mine to bed while she faffed about with almost anything that would delay the process - an awful lot of "take deep breaths" and "step out of the room for a minute" scenarios. Tearing your hair out while driving is only a problem from the point of view of needing both hands for the wheel - and definitely nothing to be ashamed of.

But not to be flippant - I don't underestimate the daily indigestion and background anxiety about what she's going to come up with next, and nor should you - look ahead. Forewarned is forearmed. Start finding out about people you can count on locally for befriending, respite and all the other things without which we would all be fit to be tied.

PS I can't honestly recommend siblings. c.f. Dysfunctional families. You think mothers are a problem..?!
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Sunflo, all good suggestions. Thank you. I am keeping contact to a minimum for the next couple of days. We live very close to each other but it's still a short drive. Only one phone call in the morning to make sure she is ok and that's it. I definitely need a break. I could use a sibling or two. LOL
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Country mouse, the other day she frustrated me so much that I just screamed aloud in the car like a lunatic. I felt very ashamed later that night. We don't live together but I take her out on errands 2 or 3 times a week. We speak two times a day. I know other people have it a lot harder but I'm just so drained from all the ongoing drama. From her obsessive worries. Thanks for listening
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CM, I go thru similar with my mom, 91, widowed, I'm her only go to person. It is a curse for sure.

First, keep coming here for support and reassurance you aren't alone in this and your moms behavior is more the norm than "the sweet old grateful senior" we see in commercials.

I'm visiting my mom in couple days and have already had the telephone conversations where she is trying to work me over. Ahead of these visits and calls, I make sure I'm well rested, and in a good patient frame of mind with a few prayers for patience. I try to keep things light, avoid arguments, and when things are tensing up or she acts up, I make sure I have a plan such as a drive in the car, going out for ice cream or milkshake, walk around the neighborhood together to remove us both from the environment or at least her home turf. This is the distraction that lets her refocus.

If it gets heated and she thinks I've stolen something, or something's missing or other, and there is no reasoning with her...I've learned to take a time out and just either go outside, or fake an incoming phone all and step outside or go to the car for several minutes while she cooks off. If it is just beyond hope, I tell her I love her and that I'm leaving and will see her in the morning. She sometimes tries to call me afterwards and I answer once and keep it short and then don't answer her calls til next day.

We deserve our sanity too and although they have dementia, sometimes it's just a temper tantrum or they are having an ill day. It's best to take a break and I no longer feel guilty about doing so. I have set many boundaries for my own mental health and to avoid saying something that would truly hurt her or that I can't take back.
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Babalou is right on track. If the meds aren't helping her, she is on the wrong meds. If she doesn't like taking pills, ask the MD about a transdermal "patch" that applies like a Band-Aid.
It's important for you to be off-duty at least one day a week, preferably two.
Also consider respite care, check if an ALF near you can take her "on vacation" for two weeks while you get away too.
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Cmshul, I'm a little bit worried. Your post asks about controlling your temper with your mother, but you don't go on to say any more about how you're finding that difficult, or what the problems are exactly. Do you live with your mother? Do you have any support with caregiving? Being too bound up with one another isn't good for either of you - I sympathise, I know how trapped it can make you feel. Keep posting, there are so many helpful voices here.
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Thank you. I am 64. Mom has been bullying me my whole life. With guilt. I am going to get a POA a sap. Great suggestion. I am already on antidepressant/anti anxiety medication but Mom issues breaks through that. Ismaili, I quickly said a prayer to be patient but didn't stop to listen. I was too mad. Thanks again all. Glad I found this site.
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Before entering my parents home or going to assist dad as he called me I often asked God for strength and patience, I prayed it outloud. Although I am pretty sure He can hear a yell as well as a whisper, voicing the request reminded me of what I needed.
If you do snap occasionally, forgive yourself, you are an imperfect person in a most imperfect situation.
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Cmshul, being the only go-to person for an elderly parent is definitely a burden. It can also be satisfying (at least some of the time.)

Are you in your 70s or late 60s? I'll bet you thought this was your time to slow down, relax, and enjoy the fruits of your labor, right? I hope you are getting to do that in many ways. Are many of your friends still alive, still able to get together with you, still interested in your life? Take full advantage of that. You can see by your mother's example that you may not always have them.

You say that your mother can be very controlling. Really? A little ol' lady in her 90s can control you? How? Does she threaten to disinherit you? Threaten to make you sit on a stool for time out? Or is she just especially sharp at pushing your guilt buttons? You really can control that,you know. Just because she buys you a ticket for a guilt trip doesn't mean you have to go. :) When you consider her "controlling" think about what that means and how she does it. I'll bet you could easily take back control if you really want to. What power does she actually have?
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Has your mother been evaluated for dementia and/or cognitive decline? Paranoia is a symptom. Living with it is not good for her or for you.

Valium is not a great drug for the kinds of issues that either of you is experiencing. I'd much rather you see a psychiatrist for a proper workup of what may be depression and a good course of treatment implemented.

Once you've got that taken care of, you can work on getting a diagnosis for your mother. Do you have POA? If not, try to obtain it now before she gets diagnosed with dementia. She is rapidly approaching the point where she needs three shifts of caregivers and you will need poa in order to be able to use her funds to hire care for her.

If there is any way you can get respite for a few days, please arrange to do so, you sound beyond burned out. Ask yourself where your mother will be if you die first.
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Cmshul, it is amazing the things that some elders worry about. My parents also worry that someone is taking their mail, my Mom even thinks the mailman is taking home her "Good Housekeeping" magazine.

Dad has issues with what he puts out in the trash on pick-up day. Cannot put out electronics, such as old computers or monitors... my gosh, what would the neighbor's say.... [rolling eyes].

Now Dad is obsessed with all the leaves on his front lawn... again, the neighbors might talk.

My parents are so private you'd think they were in the witness protection program. They have a post office box so that hardly any mail comes to the mailbox at home.

There are times when I blow up over these small things, but when it becomes a regular routine it can try your patience. I know I need to ignore these silly things, and maybe try to count to 10 before saying anything :)
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