Has anyone ever cut all ties with mother and siblings because of disagreements over care?


I've been helping care for my mother for the 22 years since my father died (she never learned to drive). She's 90 now, but at 80 began having balance problems which worsened over time and at 85 began showing signs of mild dementia which have gotten progressively worse.

I believe she needs in-home care or should live at the assisted living facility where her SIL lives, quite happily I might add. My sisters don't want her to leave her home even though she's extremely lonely and deteriorating mentally and physically. They discourage her every time she brings it up and they tell her how bad it will be.They're both financially strapped and I believe they want to preserve their inheritance. I have no problem with Mother's money being used for Mother's care and neither does my brother, but he won't stand up to my sisters.

Also, I've been the one to take her to doctor appointments for the last 22 years but since she's had dementia, all they do is complain and criticize the medication and treatment decisions the doctor makes. They have strong opinions about what medications they do and do not want mother to take, but they absolutely refuse to take her to even one appointment because it's "my" job. They want me to fight their battles with the doctor and I'm just not up to it anymore. I'm the baby of the family (even though I'm 59) and they feel free to bully me and tell me what I have to do.

Last week, I cut all ties with all of them. I changed my phone number and made it a private listing and no longer plan to do anything I was doing (taking meals for a week each month, taking mother to doctor appointments, picking up her prescriptions, getting her library books, getting her hair washed and nails trimmed.)

Part of the reason for this is because they've screamed at me and complained for years that I'm not doing enough to help and they criticize the things I do. They live closer to Mother (right across the field from her on the family farm). I live almost an hour away. I feel I was pulling my weight.

Neither of them has to spend much time with her. One of them will drop by each day to make a pitcher of tea for Mother, feed her cat, and bring her mail. They don't visit with her - they're only there for 15 minutes at the most unless she has an emergency which is very rare.

All of their incessant phone calls and yelling and complaining to me has caused a lot of friction in my own home and family. My daughter suffers from obsessive-compulsive disorder and severe depression and she has missed two semesters of college, due in part to the stress at home caused by my dealing with my mother and sisters.

I could handle helping mother if I didn't have to deal with my sisters, but there's no way around it as they live next to her and control everything. Since I cut all ties a week ago, I feel unrelenting and crushing guilt. I'm also sad that I've lost my extended family, even though it's always been pretty dysfunctional.

I suffer from OCD and depression, as well, and was hospitalized 5 times when I was younger. I have some other health problems that I won't bore you with. Suffice it to say that I'm at the end of my rope, mentally and physically, and can no longer tolerate my sisters. But I know if my mother dies while we are estranged from one another that it will haunt me until my dying day.

I've tried just helping my mother and trying to stay away from my sisters and their bullying, but it really is impossible. Mother draws me in by telling me what she's going through and how they're not helping her and I just lose it. I got to the place that I was yelling and screaming at them and saying terrible things - it was all the truth, but I guess some things shouldn't be said no matter how desperate, frustrated, and anger you are.

Oh, one more thing - my mother has frequently told me she wants to get in-home help or go to the assisted living facility and has even asked me to take her there several times, but she always changes her mind. About a month ago, Mother was sick and one of my sisters begged me to find some in-home help for her. I did all the research, made the calls, set up an appointment and she backed out because she said, "Mother is better, so there's no rush."

Has anyone out there ever broken off ties with their family - including your parent - and how on earth do you learn to live with it? It's killing me but I don't know what else to do.

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Dial *67 when you hear the dial tone and wait and the dial tone will reset itself. Then dial the number you wanted to call. Make sure to test this by calling someone safe with caller id first to make sure your phone service supports this.

I agree with others too that you mother shouldn't have to pay the price of total cut-off because of your sisters' craziness. I hope you can work something out to take are of you and still be in her life.
Helpful Answer (3)

Isn't there some way to block your number from caller ID? Your kids can probably figure it out for you.

So sorry.
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Thank you so much for replying. My brother has Financial POA and I have Medical POA, but I believe the documents state that this is only in the case that Mother is no longer able to make decisions for herself. I don't know if that means we'd have to get a doctor to state she's incompetent and then go to court, or what. I have the papers, but I don't understand the "legalese." The hard part is that Mother is still competent to some extent and we don't want to force her to make changes. My brother and I would be happy to get in-home help for her or to take her to live with her SIL at the assisted living facility, but Mother keeps vascillating and won't stick to a decision.

I understand your point that it isn't my mother's fault, although I do think she gives my sisters too much power (I guess she has to since they live close by and she's dependent. Additionally, she's always been somewhat manipulative in order to get what she wants, but I guess she had to be. She didn't drive or have a job and my father was abusive. We were all abused, too, by both of them so I don't know why I care so much, but I do. I may take your advice and get in touch with her via cell phone. I don't want her to see my new phone number on her caller ID and give it to my sisters, as my daughter and husband and I just can't take anymore of the incessant complaining phone calls. Thanks again very much.
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Well, disconnecting is the proper way to recharge your emotional batteries, but you know yourself you won't stay away for long. Ask your MD about anxiety or antidepressant medications for yourself. Restore your strength. Commit yourself to one day a week with Mom, and deal with just Mom. Remember that in dementia, she will complain about everyone. We hear it from our mother, who claims nobody comes, nobody calls, she is a prisoner in her home etc.
We know perfectly well that her daughter spends Mondays there, we know brother #2 is there on Sundays and Wednesdays. We know son #1 has Thursdays and Saturdays, so we know she is manipulating us. We know she goes shopping four times a week, so take all the complaints with a grain of salt. So discipline yourself to ONE day the SAME day each week and when she is on a negative slide about something, change the subject. The nice thing about dementia, is that a redirect of conversation is fairly easy. Redirect your own thoughts as well, find the positives. Bring your daughter with you, because grandchildren are always a bright spot for grandma's. Keep it upbeat. Everyone will benefit from this, most of all Mom.
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What JG said.
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I can understand breaking off ties with your sisters.

But this is not Mom's fault, is it? It is really sad to do this to her, in my opinion. Can you at least call her and keep in touch, with the ground rules being no talking about sisters?

Does anyone have DPOA? Medical POA? If Mom would give you this authority then you could act in spite of what the sisters say they want.
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