My Mother has always put her own health first. Since I can remember she has 'moaned' about one illness or another. Often spending most of her time in bed. I used to believe what she said but eventually realised her professed illnesses were mostly an attention seeking ploy. Her illnesses were used to control me and my stepfather.

My 'golden child' brother was protected and she didn't like to upset him. I was fair game though. My stepfather was an obedient enabler. So much of my life has been affected by feelings of guilt and dread of her volatile nature.

I live 25 miles away from them but over the last few years I have tried to help them both on a weekly basis. Though nothing I do is of significance. I have done alot for them both. I have a family of my own but I can't mention what I do for them as my Mother will turn on me saying why don't you do something for us!

Often my mother is both physically and verbally hostile towards me. I am 65 now and she drains the life out of me!

Now she constantly asks me to move in with them to totally care, cook and deal with my stepfathers incontinence etc! He does have daily homecare twice a day. They are both sound of mind.

If my Mother was an easier individual My dilemma would be so much easier but her hostile behaviour is often a nightmare. At the age of 89 she has so much energy and yet to hear her she is at death's door.

If I lived with her she would be the death of me I know!

I'm not a shy introverted type. I am a strong woman who held down a very responsible job but my Mother saps the very life out of me.

The more I see her, often the worse she treats me.

Now she constantly tells me I need to do more for them by moving in with them!

My Mother says its my duty to care for them now they are old ( not my Brothers!)

Incidentally, neither of them cared for their own parents in any way whatsoever!

I know I just can't live with her so how can I handle her constant request?

Nip it in the bud. Next time she brings it up tell her flat out you will not be moving in with them, and that if she/they need a live in caretaker then they will have to hire one.

It is not your duty to move in and care for them.

It might be easier to have this conversation on the phone, that way if she gets abusive or nasty you can just hang up.

Of course she will throw a tantrum. So what. What is she going to do, stop contacting you? If she does enjoy the break. She'll get over it.

Once she cools down and realizes you are not her free slave then you can decide what you want to do from afar, like helping her find resources or apply for medicaid.

Also, you have my empathy. I have a difficult mother too and she's bulldozed me to the point of abuse all my life. I'm just now realizing at age 56 that she doesn't control the situation anymore. I do. The same is true for you.
Helpful Answer (12)
Reply to ExhaustedPiper

I just checked this on Google: there are roughly 6,500 spoken languages in the world today.

Learn to say "no" in all of them.

Also. The problem here is not so much what your mother genuinely expects. If you turned up on her doorstep with your suitcase and your cat in a carrier she'd probably fall down in a dead faint. And it most certainly isn't about what she needs, guilt or anxiety about any real risk to her or your stepfather's wellbeing.

The problem is that your habit of compliance is so deeply ingrained that every time you "fail" to agree with her 100%, it brings *you* out in a cold sweat. It's almost Pavlovian. With no dinner, just the bell.

Have you had any therapy about this?
Helpful Answer (11)
Reply to Countrymouse

Nothing will make her happy. Even if you lived there and waited on her 24/7, she’d still hate you. There is no pleasing these narcissistic people, and you will go insane trying!

Maybe stop coming around as often? It’s draining you and simply because she thinks you’re the one to care for her, doesn’t mean you have to. You’re doing more than she deserves as it is. No parent who truly loved you would insist you ignore your own family for them.

Simply tell her “No. I have my own family and they come first. I like where I am and that’s final.” If she keeps asking, keep repeating the reason, or say “Mom, I’ve already explained this. The answer is no.”
Helpful Answer (10)
Reply to LoopyLoo

Echoing Tothill. "No" is a complete sentence. No explanation necessary.

And regarding this: "I'm not a shy introverted type. I am a strong woman who held down a very responsible job but my Mother saps the very life out of me" and this: "So much of my life has been affected by feelings of guilt and dread of her volatile nature."

Your awareness of these things is the key to coming out from underneath them. Choose a happy life focused on others who love and support you instead. :)

Helpful Answer (10)
Reply to janeinspain

You can say "No, mom, I cannot possibly do that. I can get you the name and number of a geriatric social worker who can help you."
Helpful Answer (10)
Reply to NYDaughterInLaw

My Mother entered Hospice and expected me to leave my husband (just married in sept of 2018) in another state to take care of her full time. She says my husband does not need me and he is fine alone. She was very angry with me, or should I say giving me the guilt trip because I chose my husband over her.

My Mom has been sick with various ailments for the past 30 years. Once her husband passed she wanted me to take his place. It did not matter that I had a family and a full time job or that I was a widow myself. All that mattered was her, and I was a terrible daughter for trying to live my life and not being there for her every need.

No matter what I did it was never good enough. I have been married now for only 6 months and I have spent two of those months with her. Yet I still get the guilt trip for leaving.

I finaly and firmly put my foot down with the the advice from this group. I have arranged for her care, put her finances in order and let her guilt trips slide off of me. This terrible daughter is going home to her husband on the 29th and will NOT come back for a fake "crisis"

I've been belittled, talked down too, told I was stupid, ordered around for far to long. I love my Mother, I do but I am just done being her servant, when at my age she enjoyed life to it's fullest. It's not easy saying no, I understand that. But when I got the courage to do that more courage came.
Helpful Answer (10)
Reply to smilingtulip

You know the answer to her request already (no no no). That's not the problem.

Is the problem "I feel uncomfortable saying no"? (Or worse: heart palps, sweating?) I was right there in January.

Little fixes like stalling or making excuses just extended the agony.

To solve led me to learn how to say no. I had to learn how to change the horrible guilt geelings over saying no. To change my feelings I had to change my thoughts. Took professional help. I was so conditioned to please my folks. I started with a small no, then kept adding. Now! My No muscle is working out & looking good! (I still feel uncomfortable saying No, but way way less so).

My thoughts have now moved from: "I have to do everything they ask to help them - it's my family, my duty". To: "I am helping my family organise the appropriate care for themselves". These thoughts do not cause guilt, they cause pride that I am have a positive attitude.

Good luck working on your No.
Helpful Answer (7)
Reply to Beatty
97yroldmom Apr 24, 2019
Good post Beatty. Practicing managing your feelings when saying no by starting with a small no and building up.
See 1 more reply
The answer is assisted living unless you want to live in an abusive environment.

If she does not like that then write your brothers contact information down and tell her to go live with them.
Helpful Answer (7)
Reply to RocksPaper


It is a complete answer. Why do you not feel you can just say "NO"? She won't like to - she doesn't have to. You are an adult. You do what you want to. End of discussion. NO.

Helpful Answer (6)
Reply to Kimber166

Thank you everyone for your advice and encouragement. I needed that.
Yes I do say No and Yes I have gone No contact too but I worry about them both as they become older and more dependant.
My stepfather is a lovely man even though he has enabled my Mothers controlling behaviour. I want to help him and he is grateful for this but my Mother never sees what I do as enough. My Mother is very rarely thankful unless it's something my brother does for them. He spends money on them and tries to do what he can from 200 miles away!

I do believe that when she is focused on directing her negativity at me it somehow protects my stepfather. He was her carer for many years and now she has become his 'reluctant' carer!! She never had to do anything in the house as he did it all! Hence wanting me to move in!

Of course, you are all right and I will continue to say no I can't move in with her or do much more than I am already doing.

Thanks so much for all your support everyone.
Helpful Answer (6)
Reply to lizzie7
rovana Apr 28, 2019
Your stepfather made some choices and they have consequences.  Not your fault at all!  And if he cares for you at all, would he really want you to be abused by his wife? Sounds like there are other choices possible here and you have no real need, much less obligation, to move in with them and subject yourself to abuse.
See All Answers

Ask a Question

Subscribe to
Our Newsletter