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Apparently my narc dad has been occupied with other things lately so moms has turned her focus on me. She's been very depressed since her sister died last year and just now barely getting out of the house. She of course is very codependent on dad and when he's not there for her she thinks it's her duty to turn to me. Since they weren't there for me growing up, I am very well independent without either of them. I'm not here for her convenience or to be blamed for her depression as she has already done. She has called everyday for a week just "checking up" and I have stopped answering the phone. I told her last week she needed to get with her sister who is going. Through the same issues, go to church, get a new routine, I have suggested everything. She doesn't listen to anything but talks over me and all about herself. Dad is appeasing her telling her to go buy nice things for herself and patronizing her and she thinks he's becoming a better person all of the sudden- "changing" she says. None of that's true. It never is.
I have given her all the answers I have and even on the phone she is just draining of my energy like a vampire! She wants to visit but I can't take that. Fortunately I live an hour away so that helps. Thank goodness. Any other suggestions? Oh and I suggested therapy, no go there.

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Taylorsmom - there is not a thing you can do that changes your mom's behavior - only she can change her behavior. That being said - you can set boundaries - what are you willing to do/not do? my mom is very similar. She will call every day - sometimes multiple times a day, text me, email me. Several years ago i told her i would call her once a week and i stick to that. Every Sunday afternoon we talk for an hour and i ignore her during the week calls, etc. It was just too much. As for visiting - it is too much for me to host - so we meet a few times a year midway for lunch, visit a garden or a museum, etc. You do not have to meet her demands but you will not be able to get her to stop making them. A book that was eye opening for me was "Toxic Parents" and helped me set boundaries, and stick to them. your mom will not like it - my mom hated it, but eventually she started speaking to me again :)

take care of you, give her what you can, but you decide what that is. You cannot make her life better, nor is it your responsibility
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I completely relate to your story Taylorsmom. My Mom has always looked to me for emotional support but she was a very unsupportive mother. When she hit her change of life she became so needy I could not breathe. I lived 200 miles away at the time and had an infant son but she expected me to call her daily (sometimes twice a day) so she could talk endlessly about her woes. When I tried to pull away she would talk about suicide. I was terrified and begged her to see a psychiatrist but she took that as me wanting to abdicate my duties to her. She did see someone one time and never went back, she didn't like the guy.

I spent decades trying to make my Mom happy. I have two siblings who Mom never looked to for support. I was the oldest, that job went to me.
Then about 8 years ago a number of things happened that brought great challenges my own core family. Mom got more needy and I started to get sick from trying to be there for her and deal with what was going on in my own life. Two years ago I made the decision to put my well being front and center. A big part of that meant detaching from Moms bottomless pit of need.

I feel for my Mom but I can not fix her. I tried, God I tried but all it did was destroy my own mental well being. Mom is 82 now and if anything she is worse than before. I will help to make sure she is safe and cared for but I will not get sucked back into her world of misery and anger. It is very difficult for me not to put that superhero cape back on. I am especially vulnerable when I let myself feel judged by others and believe me there will always be judgement from others when you set boundaries.


I hope you are able to detach with love from your Moms neediness.
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Hello,
Thank you for the posts; my mother is emotional and needy too, but I don't mind listening to her a few minutes every day; after all she is in her eighties has lost 2 sisters, 2 brothers a husband and a child, now in her 80's she has multiple physical challlenges. She loves me and along with my dad she worked hard to make sure I needed, not all I wanted growing up, food, shelter, safe home. BUT, your posts pointed out I do have a similar problem. I have two children who I call and text to share good news, just talk and find out about their days; but they ignore me until they have a problem so their calls are always depressing OR when it is a big holiday and they expect they can home, use it like a hotel have me just do all the work, now they have families so they will come with them visit, and of course I love to see them but why I should I settle for that kind of arrangement. Your posts made me realize we parents have to detach from our kids too. Especially when they are as self absorbed in their own lives as you all are; I deserve that too. I can take my supercape hero off, be a good daughter to a mom who actually enjoys my attention and know my kids will call me when they are in trouble, as they always do, and as they get older maybe they will appreciate a little wisdom from their mom, that I was too was self-absorbed to appreciate in my twenties and thirties, when I was working hard to just take care my kids needs. I bet they thought I wasn't there for them too, because I was often exhausted. But, I hope I raised them to be independent, maybe its time to let them know I don't need their negativity if the only time want to talk is when they want do it, like once a week. I don't just call my friends once a week, or when I need them. I take their calls when they need me, and sometimes that goes on for your years, but then I know they be there for me, for years when I need them. That is what adult friends do for each other, when someone is greiving or going through a terrible time, you invest in them as have and willd do for you. If my calls are being ignored by a friend, I'd definitely cool the relationship too. At least I know my mom will always be my friend, and maybe someday my kids will understand what that means too. I hope you have the kind of friendships that will listen to your depressing talks for years, you don't get over the grief of losing a long term love, like a spouse or sister in a few months. My daughter lost 9 months ago; my son's best friend killed himself 2 years ago, I guess it is just time they get new relationships, I can't fix their lives, why should I let their depressive thoughts effect my life?
Thanks for good advice for moms; your timing is perfect for my life.
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Regarding what cetude in my opinion far too often some expresses what they are going through in order to vent and disturbs me when other feel that what that person is going through must be minimized by us saying " Oh things could be a LOT worst. At least be thankful you have a dad still. Also be thankful she is still able to use a telephone. You don't have to stop working because she has needs around the clock care. That's your choice. You think you have it bad?" All these saying just make me feel that in order for us to feel better someone has to be worst off. Taylorsmom I would say to you that it's ok to accept your feelings of frustration as they are your reality. Do whatever you have to do to reduce YOUR Stress. We have not walked in your shoes. And nobody should trivialize your feelings. I encourage you to do what brings you peace. Be true to yourself.
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One comment I read is critical, I feel - BE HONEST WITH THAT PARENT. ie, 'mom, I don't talk on the phone after 9:00pm - however, I want to keep the line open and not unplug the phone, in case I need to be reached in an emergency.' It worked! She is stubborn, so I added a taste of her own medicine by calling her at 8:00am, way too early. She got my point!

I do have a daughter and lost a son 7 years' ago at the age of 29. It sharpened my focus to have relationships with those I care about to fine tune them. My daughter is a loving, caring daughter who wasn't always that way. No one ever said it would be easy! I hope in some way I helped a little by sharing my strategy.
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This same situation has caused my much heartache; going to counseling, having crazy high blood pressure, moodiness, etc. The high BP finally got my attention. She is 84, I am 64. SET LIMITS This is what I will do and this is what I WILL not do. I will make phone calls etc. to streamline her life as much as I can (resists all suggestions, etc) re meds every 3 months, arranging travel to dr w/service geared toward the elderly, housekeeping (her apartment is a nightmare; clutter every where).I have lately told her exactly why when she whines or hints. I HAVE TO TAKE CARE OF MY WELLBEING FIRST. PERIOD.

My mom has always been self absorbed; an artist that was a bit famous here in Syracuse. I've heard all my life, when I'm so very in need compassion and help (ie, cancer, had a bad reaction to antibiotic, and I asked her not to parade around to everyone how sick I was - response? crying and yelling at me, 'I didn't know what SHE had gone thru w/my illness, etc., worrying, etc. so don't be mean to me. Can you imagine???). She now needs help w/a lot of tasks, weight gain, arthritis, needing walker, etc. trouble driving. She lives in an adult living complex with total independent living, not like an extended care facility. She is melodramatic, handwringer, 'please feel sorry for me, drama queen! Her buddies at the apt. complex are split - some see thru her, some don't, and she obviously stops traffic telling them about her mean daughter. Ugh! To compound it, I have a sister that is 18 yrs younger that she idolizes. My sister is a lot like her, self centered etc.

Survive and treat yourself well. Those that know you (or care to) will understand without having to give explanations. My husband is a huge support and thank God for him.

I hope this helps.
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I think taking care of your health and wellbeing, and your 'core', immediate family is your best course of action. You HAVE tried for your mother. You cannot 'fix it' and we know that does not mean that you do not love her nor does it mean you do not wish that you could help. If you cannot help me, please set boundaries for what you will allow, and help yourself.
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I agree with everything that's been said here. but cetude has hit the nail on the head - things could be much worse, and for your own sanity, that's what you have to cling on to. There's no right or wrong way forward here - relationships between mums and daughters vary along a continuum from being extremely close (as with me and my daughter) and very distant (as with my step-daughters and their mother). These are relationships that develop from childhood and with every passing year they are consolidated. I had a good relationship with my daughter when she was a child, and essentially that's not changed so now I have grandchildren whom I see almost every day and certainly talk to every day even for just a few minutes. My step-daughters on the other hand had a very difficult relationship with their mother when they were young children and as they have grown they have chosen to have less and less contact with her - indeed the younger of my two step-daughters is now pregnant and didn't even bother to tell her mother until I persuaded her to do so. So, you see you have to be true to your own relationship and if as you say it's not been great, it would be a lie for you to start making something out of relatively nothing now. I know people will say that it's never too late and in some cases that's true, but in your case I can see that you already feel extremely resentful of this dependency and if you allow your mum to continue to rely on you it will be detrimental to your own mood/health. You must set boundaries but equally you have to be honest and tell her very clearly what those boundaries are while she can still understand you. I have a quick story to tell. My neighbour had a very elderly mother who called him 8 or 9 times a day just to complain about her loneliness. He got that way that he couldn't cope, was out of his mind with stress, but he didn't have the guts to tell his mother that he didn't want that level of attachment. His partner took control of his mobile phone - blocked her number for long periods at a time, and switched it off between certain night-time hours. This wouldn't have been necessary if my neighbour had been honest with his mother. As it turned out, she had a bad fall, was taken to hospital and the very many phone calls that were made to him didn't get through - she died without him being able to say goodbye and now he's racked with guilt. Long story, but it's there to show you that you have to draw the lines of communication, and those lines of communication have to be what work for you on the basis of your relationship with your mother. I wish you luck.
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There is an old adage "A son is a son until he takes a wife but a daughter's a daughter all of her life". That is true in most cases but now women are working more and are unable to be there for their elder parents like they once were. I have 5 sons all in their 40's and 50's. I don't contact them much unless I see something they might like to see through email. They call once a month. I will be 69 soon and I am totally disabled. I would never contact them everyday or even every week but it is nice when they do call me and check up on me. I do have a wonderful husband so that helps.

It is hard for me to believe I will be almost 70 this year. I would hope that daughters and sons realize that most of us Mom's did the best we could with what we were given. My 1st husband, the father of my sons, was totally disabled at 40 and one time one of my sons said he never understood why we had to eat so much macaroni and cheese and I told him he was lucky to have the macaroni and cheese. I went to college at 35 and worked my way up the chain and finally received my MBA at 50. Good or not I tried and I am sure most Mom's do the same thing.

Remember someday you too will wonder why the kids don't call more:)
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Oh things could be a LOT worst. Trust me I know. At least be thankful you have a dad still, who can look after her. Also be thankful she is still able to use a telephone. You don't have to have her live with you and stop working because she needs around the clock care--it's either that or put her in a nursing home. That's your choice. You think you have it bad? Your mother may be going through depression issues--she needs to see a doctor they may be able to prescribe some kind of antidepressant if that's the case.
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