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One week from today Mother will be released (released early for poor behavior) from rehab. Of course she is coming back to my home, as she has dozens of times over the past 16 years. There will be more equipment and several types of rehab in my home 3-5 times per week with several different people coming in and out scheduling time that suits them and half a dozen MD appointments and 24/7 care.


We hoped Mother would stay in rehab long enough and regain her strength and relearn enough skills to make transfers less difficult and be able to give herself a bath sitting in a chair. We purchased a shower chair but she refuses to use it.


Mother asked for 6 months when we returned from our honeymoon, that was sixteen years ago, 20+ falls ago, one TIA ago, dozens and dozens of UTI's ago, dozens of other illnesses ago, two eye surgeries and one gallbladder surgery ago.


When we began taking care of Mother we had a brand new marriage, I had a career in the Music Industry and was attending college full time at night. Our plans were to start a family, purchase a home nearby (because Mother is disabled) and I was going to finish college (which I did) and begin grad school (either law school or if we had a child by them grad school to become a professor).


My career that I worked so hard for went down the tubes as the partners said that either I could move closer to work and away from Mother who was calling and disrupting my work all the time or leave. I got my bachelors degree (albeit I had to drop my schedule several times costing thousands and thousands of dollars because scholarships do not cover such disruptions and had to take out loans to cover these debts) but was unable to take advantage of scholarships for grad school. Mother had emergency after emergency and used the fact that my siblings had children and she was a widow and I feel for that hook line and STINKER.


She actually had me convinced that if I asked for my brothers help that meant I HATE their children because it would be taking food out of their mouths. Looking back, what pure b/s, my brothers make an extremely comfortable living.


Year after year, emergency after emergency and dumb dumb me kept listening to her say everyone in our family can have babies well into middle age. "Just give me six more months" "Just help me through this illness" it will be okay, you can have children whenever you wish. Well, turns out not in my case.


Four months into our marriage Mother had a bad fall and since that time I've been her caretaker. I was the last to get married, the only girl, had no children and being a good, "proper" southern girl I had the responsibility of caring for her. I never imagined being in this role more than a few months but over time and fall after fall (she refuses to obey MD's safety orders) her condition deteriorated and sixteen years later she still lives with us and her care takes up much of my day as she is at full assist. Over time as her needs escalated, and abilities decreased, her care ended my career, ended plans for graduate school and our plans for having a family, I've lost ALL my work friends and my best friend since high school. I so wish we had not delayed having a family while we were both young and/or I had found a way to afford full time assistance for Mother as I could not carry a pregnancy while transferring Mother several times a day, I needed bed rest.


We went through the steps and classes to adopt, but another emergency, imagine that, but we only need to retake two classes, and guess what, another emergency that has left Mother in the rehab hospital for nearly two months now, but, giving us a rest...... not exactly. For the first few weeks I had to be there nearly all day because of her poor behavior and refusal to do things she must do in order to stay and then if she doesn't receive daily visits she blows her top so, little rest and she comes home next week.


I have a big birthday coming up and I'm so depressed and angry with myself for allowing this to go on for so long. Over the past 6 of the sixteen years mother has become increasingly abusive, mean, manipulative, even more narcissistic and nearly impossible. She uses family triangulation and manipulation and until therapy I didn't realize these things or that I've been a lifetime family scapegoat. She is on the borderline economically so alternative plans other than a dump are not feasible. My not working and accruing benefits and SS for the future has and will cost us more than I care to calculate.


I do have a wonderful husband but he's gone 50+ hours per week and he can't and shouldn't try to fill in all the black holes, and I refuse to do to him what has been done to me. I'm so sad I don't know what to do.

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Well in spite of what you think, you're on the cusp of some really good things! Why? Because you now understand the family dynamics that have served to keep you stuck for all of these years. Now you can see past the manipulation that your mom has used on you. And you can work (with the help of your therapist) to set some healthy, thick boundaries with your mother to protect yourself from future hurt.

Don't take your mom back into your home! Let the discharge planners find her somewhere else to live. Go "no contact" with her if you need to. Look on these boards for threads about narcissistic mothers. There are loads. You've been groomed to take care of her and you don't have to do that anymore! We're here to support you in your newfound strength and freedom. Stick with us and let us know how you're doing! And DON'T bring mom back into your home!!
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Scarlett....listen very hard to innerchild and blannie.....and, plz do take their advice.

Let me offer an "outsider's" view: #1. You've gone above and beyond for years as "the good daughter." #2. You had the insight, intelligence and motivation to seek help in therapy and you have learned from that. #3. You apparently have a loving, supportive spouse.....#4. You need to apply, right now, the perfect opportunity, what you say you learned in therapy.

FINALLY....go back and re-read what you posted because you are continuing to sabotage yourself every step of the way. Seriously.....this is not meant in criticism, but in observation, based on your own words.

You write that , " she will be released early due to bad behavior....of course, she will come back to my home.....as she has done dozens of times....."....WHY???....You are in control of who comes into your home. STOP IT!

You write, "We hoped Mother would stay in rehab long enough....".....REALLY???.....WHY WOULD YOU EVER THINK AT THIS POINT IN YOUR VERY LONG, HIDEOUS EXPERIENCE THINGS WERE DIFFERENT NOW????

You write, "she is at full assist".....OK....just let me be blunt....that means she needs 24/7 care....not something you can or even should try to provide....she needs to be in a place that can provide that care. You cannot seriously think that, as she ages, this will get any better!??

You write, "she is on the borderline economically so alternative plans other than a dump are not feasible."....Sorry, but total BS....there are always options....always....you may not like them but they do exist. Apply for Medicaid if nescessary.....just get this woman away from you.....cared for, yes.....just not by you and not in your home!

Re: Your brothers.....I don't personally believe anyone is responsible financially for their parents' well-being.....BUT, hey, that's a family discussion you can have....or not....

OK....now I will call you out....."for the first few weeks I had to be there nearly all day because of her refusal to do things....poor behavior....she blows her top if she doesn't receive daily visits....of course, she is coming home next week....".....WHAT???

Talk to the Discharge planners, Social Workers, etc....if her behavior is this bad they can recommend a hold for review by geriatric psychiatrist.....Do IT!

And engage that great, supportive hubby.....

I sincerely wish you well, Scarlett....BUT.....you need to step up and take some control .... you will have a lot of friends and fans, here, if you do....and, unlike your Mother, they will stick by you and support you....
Good Luck!!!
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So, since your brothers are financially 'comfortable', what are the reasons for not being able to help you? The fact they have children? I understand the time constraints of work, school, running home and 3 children. I did it without the help of my alcoholic husband, who I divorced and he never took them so I could finish college ( yep, I had scholarship to private college), and all down the tubes, as I burned out. My family, with NM, would not help so I could finish. Could not see that it would benefit in a better job to support myself, and better life for their only daughter and their grandchildren! Scarlett, you are still young! If you finish the adoption classes, you and your husband will have a child or two to love and keep you more than busy! There were family members who were difficult while in care facilities. I have friends who have had difficult parents with dementia and Alzheimer's. I suggest not 'rescuing' her! If she has to go into NH, use her income and assets. When it runs out, apply for Medicaid, if she has to. I am a senior, and if I could do it all over, I would not have made the choices I find and sacrifice my life. I am not a self-centered person, but I have had no life, never remarried, as I had very little time for myself. Time has flown by - so fast! I was given that advice, and sorry I didn't take it. Don't miss the train!
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Excellent, excellent advice. I know what you mean about some southern women, scarlett. While most parents in the south now go into assisted living (AL) or nursing homes (NHs), there are still a few people who view one of their children as a slave. This is usually a daughter. The parent may have no shame at the sacrifices they ask of that child. And the parent won't stop asking, because they see themselves as the important one and the child as a mere tool to help them live. It is not love. It is using.

I had an aunt who needed 24/7 care for 16 years. She was of the old school where daughters were supposed to take care of their parents. My cousin G began to help her and moved in with her after G's husband left her. G tried to put her mother into a NH, but she yelled and made her so guilty that G brought her back home. When my aunt died, G was single and totally broke. There was no retirement savings and no inheritance. Her mother was loved by many, but I see it more realistically. She consumed her own daughter's life.

While we are helping others we have to make sure that we are not harmed too much. Some people end up donating their careers, marriage, and future livelihood to their parents. If a parent is narcissistic, the only person who can keep it from happening is the child. "I can't do it anymore," has a lot of power. You are in the perfect positions right now to say that. Ask the discharge planner for help finding a facility. Your mother will yell and carry on, but she has asked WAY too much of you. Shame on her for consuming your life the way she has. I hope she doesn't get too many bites of the rest of your life. (((((Hugs))))) You can't change what happened in the past, so regrets won't help. But you can change what happens next week simply by saying that you can't do it anymore.
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I agree so much with what's been posted. Especially what JessieBelle said about the elderly loved one only viewing the adult child as a means to an end. My mother began nibbling away at my life six years ago. At first I didn't see it, I took satisfaction in being the dutiful, caring, giving daughter. By the time I got a clue - that there was no end in sight, that more and more was expected and demanded of me, nibbles had become full on bites of my life she was consuming. And she was hungry for more. Unfortunately at this point I came to realize I had dug my own hole and I couldn't find a way to dig myself out so it continued. Then mom fell and needed 24/7 care - and boy, was mom ready to comsume every crumb of what was left of me - and was eyeing up my husband, my son and my home - mom was insisting on moving in. It was time I faced the fact it was either me and my family or her. Learning to say "no", "enough", "I can't do that", was hard. It reminded me of an old Star Trek episode where a kindly old angel is leading a group of children to their doom. As Captain Kirk hurls truths at the "Angel" the kindly facade melts away and pure evil is left. That was mom. Still - seven months later mom is doing better than she has in a few years receiving round the clock skilled nursing care. And I am learning how to live again. Scarlett - the only one who can save you, is you.
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innerchild5 Thank you for your advice, it is very much appreciated and taken to heart.

As for my brothers, they married very very young, and my parents helped them out ALOT, they now have their second families as both of their first wives left them and their children.

I helped care for one of the children until he remarried. They have good jobs, good businesses, and with both receive two retirements... However, in our family, I've been the scapegoat my entire life. My brothers are twins so they have a sort of special relationship.

My husband sent them a group text yesterday with regard to Mothers care and asking them to meet with us before she comes home if they would like to help Mother. They both responded and said they would get back with me but thus far have not.

My husband told them we cannot handle it alone anymore, that I'm depressed and would like to start my life now and IF she is to stay out of a facility they can help if they are willing to, otherwise we will look for another arrangement. We will see. You are very kind, thanks for your advise. You gave me some courage, I appreciate it very much.
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A couple of responders used the term "slave". You may be a southern girl, but Pres. Lincoln freed the slaves. A war was fought about it. You used the term "scapegoat". Stop being the scapegoat. No one can do this but you. Tell the discharge planner at the facility that you can't take her back in your home. Period. They need to find a place for her. Remember, in a long term care facility, there are fresh employees every 8 hours. You, one person, have this 24 hours a day. Everyday. Please listen to the good advice on this website. These people have been in the same trenches you are in now. YOU CAN DO THIS. Get going.
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Scarlett, I am one of those who will be cheering you on if you can finally put a stop to your mother's nonsense ruining your life.

"My husband told them we cannot handle it alone anymore, that I'm depressed and would like to start my life now and IF she is to stay out of a facility they can help if they are willing to, otherwise we will look for another arrangement. "

He shouldn't have used the verbiage "if they are willing to." They don't get an out. It's their turn to step up to the plate. What is the "another arrangement" that your husband wrote in the e-mail to your brothers? Is there really a Plan B?
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scarlett - don't let this hang on your brothers involvement. They have not shown any commitment. You are doing the right thing by staying away from the facility. Also, as other have said, so not accept her back into your home. The hospital will probably pressure you to, but you have to resist that pressure. It is not a matter of POA which does not necessarily carry that much power, but of you and your husband being firm that you cannot take her back into your home as you cannot provide the care she needs. She has mental illness and the average home is not equipped to deal with that. It is too hard on both of you and is wrecking your mental health, if nothing else. I also am the family scapegoat but I realised years ago I could never have mother in my home and made that very clear. She has Borderline Personality Disorder not diagnosed till she was 95, and narcissism. Then she developed vascular dementia and it was a 5 ring circus for a while. Through proper evaluations, and a one year stint in a geriatric psychiatric hospital she eventually accepted treatment of an antipsychotic and antidepressant and was placed in an ALF which specializes .win seniors with mental illnesses. She is relatively happy for the first time in her life. I and POA medical and financial and care give at a distance and only see her a few times a year but watch her care very carefully and advocate as needed, pay her bills etc. It is enough work in itself. I am 78, nearly 79 and she is 104. Make sure what ever arrangement you make for your mum is something you can live with for a long time, as you may have to. The stress of dealing with this affects my health, and distancing from her and my narc golden child sister is what I have to do to protect myself. You need to protect yourself and your marriage from further damage by your family. Put yourself and your husband first. Look after you. ((((((((hugs))))))
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I am a 24/7 caregiver and I am burned out - as well - my mother is much the same as Scarlett's. I'm sitting here, my head feels like I"m under water and things move in slow motion. Mom kept me up all night and as soon as I got up she laid down and fell asleep and will sleep all day. I wish I could get on her sleep schedule or she mine. Unfortunately, you can't take care of the vege garden after dark, you can't school horses after dark and I need the sunshine on my skin. I retired to help Mom take care of Pop - he died 2 years ago and I'm now taking care of Mom 24/7 and she is hell on wheels. She has been diagnosed with Dementia/Alzh., her vision is low (we fight about the car all of the time) she moves a lot slower now and with a cane because of her vision and she has 2 stainless steel hips of which one I think is getting ready to take a dump. She does the bad behavior thing when my respite folks are here and they have no idea how to curb it or slow her down. She won't eat when food is given to her but if you leave it she will take 4 - 6 hours and eventually eat it. Trying to get any supplements down her is - well - I don't need to go on - you get the picture - she is 95 and healthy as the proverbial horse. Personally, I think she would thrive in a facility because she is very social and gets pissed when there are not several people here at the same time. But she would want me to be there too and I'm sorry, but if she is being well cared for, I would be out the door and pursuing my chosen 3rd career which I've been sort of dabbing at for the past 4 years after retirement and played at for the last 15 years after my last international outing representing the good ole' USA. Mostly all talk and no action. Am I feeling sorry for myself - I don't know - all I know is that I'm so tired I fall asleep if I'm not actively doing something.
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