How do I cope with a difficult parent?

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Hi all.
Haven't been on here in a while but wanted to ask you all for some advice as I'm having a lot of problems come up lately..
So my 82 yr old mom who has breast cancer, asthma & a few other illnesses is becoming more & more needy.
She lives alone about 5 mins away from me.
She has refused ALL health care tech help (anyone who can visit her @ home to help with bathing, cooking, light housekeeping, etc) and has not gone to see her new primary doctor who was replaced last year since her old doc is no longer on staff @ the hospital.
My moms prescription for her asthma meds is going to expire soon & the new doctor will NOT renew the script without seeing my mom first so there's one problem because everyone I've made an appointment for mom to go see the new doc, she'll cancel it saying she's not feeling well enough to go, "I'm dizzy", etc so without a primary doctor, my mom can't get any pain meds (should she need them in the future for her cancer).
She has turned down the palliative nurses suggestion (after she examined my mom & asked her a whole bunch of questions) that my mom get sign up for hospice care, this way she'll be able to have a doctor come to the house instead of having to get to the doctors office.
But my mom because very angry at the palliative nurse when she suggested that & told her l"m not ready for hospice yet so just forget about that".
Ok so mom has been very dizzy for years now.
Used a walker to get around the house.
She is very weak, cannot use the stove anymore, can only microwave her food, etc.
I am the only child.
No family living in our state.
I work 2 jobs & am having difficulty keeping a roof over my own head & caring for my fur babies.
My mom expects me to go & stay w/her everyday, for hours (if I leave after 1 or 2 hours, she complains that I'm "running out") so I'm not able to work as much because of the time I'm spending w/mom takes away from my job.
In turn, I've had to have my mom make a couple of my car payments because I'm not making enough money to do that.
Not blaming her in any way, just wanting to give all the facts.
My mom also has had anxiety which she refuses treatment for because she doesn't want to take any drugs because she says she "sensitive" & is afraid of having a "bad reaction" to whatever the doctor would prescribe her.
So there are days when my mom will call me 5-10 times in a row, minutes apart saying how weak or dizzy she is & "you have to come over here right now".. "maybe I'll feel better after you get here", "You have to come by or you'll don't wanna have any regrets do you?".
Then when I do go over to her house, she's ok and seems a lot less "fragile" then she said she was on her messages.
I'm not able to get my own things done like my laundry, run a personal errand because she calls so much & wants/needs me to do things "right now", "I know your not working now so why don't you come over & stay with your mother for a few hours".. etc.
I think I may lose my mind if she doesn't stop this.
The palliative nurse is supposed to come on a regular basis but when she does get to see my mom, mom will tell her she doesn't need her, & she will call her when she'd like her to come back.
So the nurse isn't aware of all this neediness that my mother is exhibiting w/me & how much her anxiety is progressed.
How am I supposed to cope w/this situation?
Am I truly being a "bad daughter" by ignoring her calls so I can get thru my day or should I just drop everything & become her slave & out her needs first before my own in order to show that I'm a "good daughter"??
I am very resentful that she's making me feel this way & that has me feeling "guilty" as well, like I shouldn't be but I am.
Please advise on what I could do to better cope.

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Eyerishlass has it! Plus you have to take care of yourself or no one will take care of your fur babies (I know, because I take care of 5 indoor cats, a dog, a horse and a donkey (E-Or). I used to let my mom run me ragged like yours does you, but my lovely husband, who helps when he's really needed, stepped in and helped me learn to say "No, later, can't do this, but can to that" etc. I also learned to tell her if she gets to calling too much, or at inappropriate hours, that I am taking a nap now, going somewhere, or just "Don't call me for a couple of hours; I'm going to be busy". Things are much easier now, and she is managing just fine with paid help here and there, including drivers. You CAN choose to stop most of this; do it for your "babies" and yourself.....
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Selfish people become even more entitled as they age. Because they can no longer take advantage of others easily, they come to rely more and more on their children.
For some I believe it is a real power trip to have their children waiting on them hand and foot. I remember hearing my husband's aunt literally chortling how her two
nieces were literally "killing themselves" cleaning her house up when she was suffering from minor bowel trouble. She had a huge life savings and she wasn't shy to dangle over the poorer young relations as bait as a way to create her very own personal slaves.

The harsh reality is .that many older people have inadequate savings or will blow through their savings on medical/nursing expenses. They are happy to impoverish their children's lives so they can live in as much comfort as possible. My father spent his life enjoying himself going on many expensive vacations. I've spent the last 10 years spending every vacation but one on visiting him, to the detriment of my health and my relationships with friends and family. He has painted my visits as relaxing vacations to others when in reality they are filled with weary drudgery. I very much resent the undignified way he's treated me and the harm it has caused my health and happiness. Boundaries are essential to prevent this from happening. It isn't being selfish, it's being sane!!! And yes, some might find you "selfish", but so be it. When they want to take over your job care taking an uncooperative, ungrateful and draining elder on their own dime and time, then listen. Otherwise take care of yourself. If
you become incapacitated then your parent will really be lost.

Many people are only too happy to criticize, but let me tell you as someone whose been visiting a retirement community multiple times a year for over a decade, not many adult children step up to help their parents. The people on here who are caring for their parents in their own homes (either theirs or their parents) are going above and beyond the vast majority.

The doctors and therapists and social workers will scold and demand your time on your parents behalf, because having you take care of everything makes their life easier. You have to be tough not to be guilt tripped. At the end of the day, most go home to their families, while the rest of us have to find some way to cope with the unrealistic demands of parents who have retreated into a second childhood.
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Nothing to offer I'm afraid, just more of an understanding nod. My mom and one of my aunts expect me to be available to keep them company or run errands at all times - they're not totally incapacitated yet, but they're both pretty into themselves and their own needs without much thought about what I need for my own life.

I'm really thinking about getting a part time job, both b/c I need the money and my going to work may finally stop them from thinking I'll be available at the drop of a hat. If I don't answer the phone they'll call and call and call, and start txting and posting on my FB about "being scared something has happened to me"... just reading this I see I am going to need to put a stop to this behavior no matter what it takes. Hugs to all.

And THANK YOU... I really needed this reminder: "If your mom is competent to make foolish choices, just remember that her bad choices don't mean you have to make up for them." ❤️
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I've had to cut off my moms cell phone today because of her excessive calling (to me) & her excessive 411 calls that drove my phone bill thru the roof.
I'm going to show the nurse or doctor (whoever I can get to see her) the log of calls she's made since the begginingnof this year.. over 1100 calls.
I'm (hopefully) going to be starting a new part time job where I won't be able to answer my phone so having to block her calls was the only option up until now.. so I've just gone ahead & asked my carrier to cut off that 2nd line.
I can't take it anymore!!
Yesterday she called 22 times.
The day before 19 calls.
She's starting to REALLY lay on the guilt saying things like "you have no compassion".
"Your waiting for me to die aren't you?"
"You need to come over here right away, I can't walk & I have no water, please get me some water, I haven't eaten since yesterday, you can't go into work today", etc.
She calls & says these things EVERY DAY!!!
Day & night & I feel like having a heart attack, the stress to be able to do anything of my own is really building & I'm hoping this will end soon.
She still has REFUSED any outside help even though it's available to her.
She ONLY wants me to do everything.
I have learned that I am NOT a caretaker, and when I do do things for her (cleaning her house, cooking, washing her clothes, grocery shopping, etc) I have wanted to do it less & less, so I try to avoid staying w/her more then an hour when I do go to see her because I've become so resentful of her treatment to me & how she's made me feel.
Her lack of hygiene is really bad but again she won't accept the home health aide to come & bathe her so she says "I can wash myself", but between the yeast infection under her breast & not bathing, I can't stand to be next to her & she gets very mad when I bring that up so I don't say it anymore..
The house smells really bad because she's been urinating in a plastic bucket that she keeps in her room because she says "I can't walk to the bathroom, I'm afraid I'll fall"...
I told her "that's a problem mom because you can't keep going owe in a bucket, you need to see a doctor".
She gets SO DAMN angry when I say that.
I don't know how else to resolve all this.
It's just happening & I feel like I'm watching a bad documentary, something like "Grey Gardens".
I've stopped praying, it doesn't seem to help.
But nothing lasts forever so I'm hoping it will be over soon, but how does one recover (psychologically) from this??
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Yes, thank you everyone for the replies.
Jjariz what danger would she be in?
My mom does have Medicaid, she's had it ever since my dad passed in 91'.
But she's paid my car note w/money she got from her reverse mortgage so I don't think that should affect anything but maybe I'm wrong?
Jeanne, your reply is much appreciated.
I can also add that my mom was the sole caregiver to both her mom & grandmother when they became ill & they stayed at home.
There weren't any nurses coming by to help as I recall & my mom did have 2 brothers, but neither of them were involved in the care or to help so I think my mom feels it's my obligation to her to do the same & she would occasionally bring that up by saying "you couldn't do what I did for your grandmother & nana could you?".
"How did I handle it?"
When I tell her I'm not capable of being a caregiver she would say "but I'm your mother, not some stranger, we aren't supposed to let strangers take care of our family, we need to do it ourselves".
Since she's receiving Medicaid she's not able to go to any assisted living because Medicaid doesn't cover that.
She has made me promise to NEVER put her in a nursing home.
She wants to die at home but she doesn't understand that if she gets worse & refuses the hospice care, it can be really unsafe & ugly for her because she is alone in the house and I can't be w/her every day for 3-4 hours (like she wants me to) but no one can force her to go to a NH if she doesn't want to so that's it.
Again, it falls on me but the palliative nurse did tell me that if my mom should fall & break something or worse, I can't take the guilt from that.
While I appreciate her telling me that it doesn't change how I am feeling psychologically & the pressure I'm under every time my mom makes those 10-20 calls a day when she's having bad anxiety or sundowners (she doesn't have Alzheimer's or dementia yet, but I was told she does exhibit some of the anxiety that those illnesses get & it's called "sundowning"), so I've had to block her cell phone or I couldn't sleep or go get thru my work day.
I've gained 20 lbs in the last year which is making my arthritis rage so psychically I'm a wreck & it makes me very irritable.
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Hangingon61, your mother is putting a heavy load on you that you don't deserve. I agree with others who have given some good advice. You have to transfer the weight of your mother's care to her doctors and her shoulders. If she is ill, then she has to either go to the doctor or accept home care. If she needs companionship, then she needs to make a friend or hire caregiver to come in for a few hours a day. She seems to be looking to take your life from you, almost like she is hoovering your energy to try to build hers up.

I don't know your mother's psychological problems, but I agree with Jeanne that your relationship with her doesn't seem healthy. You are trying to get a little breathing space, but she is pulling hard on you. Parents can make us feel so guilty. Eyerishlass and Jeanne gave excellent advice. I know how hard it will be to follow the advice, since your mother seems to have dependent and narcissistic tendencies, but for you to have a life, she is going to have to give a bit... and I don't mean money. I mean getting out of her comfort zone and feeling a bit of anxiety. She can do it. She is still an adult.
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Your first and most important job is to take care of yourself. This consists of meeting your financial needs and your mental and emotional needs.

Set your limits and stick with them. Don't answer her phone calls if she calls repeatedly. When she wants you to come over, tell her "Mom, I can't come because I'm busy." You don't have to explain what you're doing. If she asks, just repeat.

Note - if your Mother ever needs Medicaid assistance in the future, you are putting her in a dangerous position by paying your car payments from her account.
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Perhaps your family life was awesome in very many ways, but in the relationship between mother and daughter it was dysfunctional. You lived at home until age 49 and then Mother tried to guilt you into staying? That is not normal. That is not healthy. I mention this because it probably is a factor in the difficulty you are having coping now. You have absolutely nothing to feel guilty about. Mother installed those guilt buttons over a lot of years, and she knows right where they are. But as an independent adult you can disconnect them. She wants to send you on a guilt trip, to meet her own objectives, but you don't have to go!

I feel sorry for your mother. I really do. The poor old lady is lonely and no doubt scared. She has no social life other than her very small family, which is not unusual in her age group. It sounds like she is a bit paranoid and won't trust "strangers." She has one disease that makes her very uncomfortable and another which is likely to take her life. She sits alone and broods. It is too bad that she isn't using that time to plan ahead and consider what her best options are. Her first best option, I think, is to stay where she is as long as she can, by accepting all available help. Next, hospice sounds reasonable. Or a care center, most likely a skilled nursing facility (and maybe hospice care there). But she does have options other than suffering alone and making you suffer.

You can't make her choices for her. But you can refuse to be bullied by her bad choices. And you can point out the consequences of her decisions but then let her face them herself. The consequence of not going to the doctor will be that her medications will be unavailable. (NO doctor is going to simply sign off on her prescriptions without seeing her.) I don't know how she'll react when that time actually comes, but remember that this bad decision is Not Your Fault. No guilt, please.

Once I arrived to pick up my mother for a doctor appointment and she was sitting in her wheelchair in her pajamas.
"Ma, it is time to leave!"
"Oh, I don't feel so good. I am too tired to go anywhere."
"Well you know what, Ma? You can be tired in your wheelchair while I push you all the way to the car. You can be tired in the car. You can be tired in the waiting room. And then you can tell the doctor all about being tired and any other problems you are having." [finding clothes in the closet during this speech]
"Here is blouse that is easy to put on. Your pajama bottoms look like casual pants. Do you want to leave them on? How about your slippers?"
"But I really don't want to go!"
"I know Ma, and I am sorry. I am very willing to take you to appointments, but I can only do that when I have someone to take care of Coy. [my husband with dementia] There is someone with him now, and we have to take advantage of that." [this said while I am wheeling her out the door]

I can't remember a time my mother EVER pushed the guilt button on any of us, so obviously it was much easier for me to cope. I think that if you can ditch the guilt, you'll find it easier to cope, too.
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Google FOG-- Fear, Obligation and Guilt. I believe you'll get some answers.
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Yes, my mom is lonely but she's never been a sociable person. She had a few friends who she'd talked to on the phone but she stopped that about 12 yrs ago. She also knows how shaky my financial situation is, that I'm one paycheck away from being homeless, that I'm self employed, etc but she doesn't seem to care. She has always shamed me for moving out to get my own apartment even though I was 49 yrs old when I left.
She constantly tells me that I should "move back home" to "be w/your sick mother" & all that.
When I tell her it's not normal for a parent to feel their children should always live @ home she says "well when the parents are not well, they should stay with them"..
Always the GUILT w/her & im sick of it.
Almost makes me relieved that when she does pass away, I won't have to hear this crap anymore.
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