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My dad had to go into a memory care facility last year. My mom is an alcoholic, was a mediocre caregiver, and was verbally abusive to him at times. I am an only child. Mom is alone and isolated in their home which is on my street. She does not have dementia. Her primary care doctor and I have attempted to get her help this year: 10-days in a senior mental health facility, followed up by regular visits with a psychiatrist, AA meetings nearby, and physical therapy. Well, she's quit them all and chooses to sit home in self pity. I am 51 and run a small business. My husband and I plan to celebrate a milestone anniversary and take a week away from home later this year. Mom said today "well I will think of killing myself when that happens", meaning...when I go away. I know she is struggling with things right now but does that seem fair or right? I take her every Sunday to visit my dad and I go at least one other time a week to visit him. I help her manage things around her house. It's not like I am absentee. She seems jealous of my relative youth (I am 51, she is 76) and always tells me how fabulous she was when she was in her 40s and 50s (I recall that she was miserable back in those days). She hates happiness, music, goodness. She is downright nasty and rude. Mostly I'm here to vent. I can't imagine another 10 or 20 years living with her. I try to keep it all in but it's starting to spill out and my husband is growing weary. I have no one to talk to about it.

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As the daughter of a paranoid, self-pitying, negative Drama Queen, I hear you loud and clear. When my mother was hospitalized for a UTI once, and was enduring the usual poking and prodding, she said to me, “My father had the right idea.” Once home, I looked at his death certificate and discovered he had committed suicide 50 years before, not had a fatal heart attack as I’d been led to believe all my life. Your mother is a “sniper” as mine was. She makes a comment about suicide and then sits back to see what effect her words would have. My mother was always jealous of me, as well. I married into a family of business owners and for a while we lived a fairly good life. We had a nice house that Mom snidely called “a barn” to everyone who would listen.

Upstream, take your trip. Take care of Hubby first. If Mom keeps up the suicide talk, you can either shrug and say, “Oh, well...” or threaten to put her in respite care or hire someone to come to her house while you’re gone and she’ll be watched 24/7. I’ve come to realize I was wrong all those years ago to pussy--foot around my mom. But I was raised to respect my elders, you know?

You really can’t change toxic people like this. They are into self-destruction and will also destroy anyone else who gets in their way, even loved ones. God knows you’ve tried with your mother. Ratchet down to the basic level of care for Mom. You can’t cure her and she doesn’t want your help. She’s only “happy” when she’s unhappy, exactly like my mom was. My mom eventually wound up with dementia and in a facility. I do miss her, even after all that. But I realize who and what she was, and I still deal with it on a daily basis.
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Reply to Ahmijoy
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Oh, Upstream, it IS emotional blackmail. Although my mom wasn't an alcoholic, I routinely received the same treatment. She recently passed away, and when I went to pick up her things and thank the staff at the nursing home, her main aide told me this. "When your mom tried to lean too far in her wheelchair or would seem to be trying to roll out of bed, I'd ask other staff if you were going on vacation soon. The answer was always yes!" I thought, "What a sinker!" So on the way out I had to stop at the business office. I mentioned to the woman there that Mom was feisty until the end and told her what the aide had said. She said, "Oh, the whole place knew it! We just couldn't tell you." I'm glad I was told. It made me angry and sad at the same time, but it clarified some things for me.

Many of us here understand exactly what you're going through. Whatever you do, DON'T even consider living with her or taking her into your home as she ages. My experience tells be that her personality and her not wanting to help herself never ever changes. I'm so glad you found this site as I did 4 years ago. You can talk to the people here about it or just read the posts of others. My brother used to say that I go on the internet and read what strangers say, how stupid. Well, I found solace and comfort here and he had a much more difficult time handling things. I'll take my experienced strangers before I try downright stupid things!

And a big congratulations on your milestone anniversary. Pick a lovely place to celebrate and go enjoy yourselves!
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Reply to amy109
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I have had similar experiences with my mthr. I strongly suggest starting with the book Boundaries by Townsend and Cloud as well as their website. An in person therapist who specializes in alcoholic family issues will give you new strategies for what to do when you are given these challenges. Finally, the group Al-Anon is a fantastic place to get support from other people who have awful, negative, alcoholic and abusive family members.

I had to let mthr simmer in her own stew without my participation in her misery. She had the choice of changing, but she derived her satisfaction from making other people unhappy. Thus, any shocking thing she did or said was best ignored. I also required that she treat me with the same respect she showed others. Sadly, she chose to walk away rather than show respect. I rescued her a few years ago and she's safely in a memory care now. The key is to realize you are not responsible for her happiness.

Since your mother was abusive to your dad, I don't understand why you bring her to him. It would be torture to me to have my abuser visit once a week. That's not a treat I would anticipate fondly. She needs help but that's not your responsibility.
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Reply to surprise
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Upstream, there are two ways I would handle this.. if she says it again... you say "If that's what you want", Don't engage. , or (Better option in my mind) if she says it again.. you call the hospital before you go and report her comment. THey should admit her for a psych eval, and you will know she being taken care of while you are gone.. and if she is really in need of help/ serious about killing herself,, she will get some help. She already has the mental health eval in her file from the sound of things. Either way, have a great trip. She is probably looking for attention.. but you can't be sure.
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Reply to pamzimmrrt
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No, it's definitely not fair or right for her to try to emotionally blackmail you. I've unfortunately been on the receiving end of such comments in the past too.

But, you have no control over the decisions she makes nor are you responsible for her feelings. Helping out? Sure. But is it your job to fix mom or make her happy? Nope.

Definitely keep your vacation plans, and when it gets closer to time to leave for the trip, you might say something like, "Mom, now remember, I will be gone next week, and my phone will be off, but I'll call after we get back."

If she starts the suicide talk again, pick up the phone and tell her if she's seriously depressed and thinking of killing herself you will call 911 so they can take her in right away and get some help. I'd be willing to bet she will dial down the drama if she sees you are serious, or, if she is truly depressed, maybe it will make her think of getting some help.

Al-Anon is a great support for family and loved ones of alcoholics and addicts, and you will find there are many who will understand what you are going through. And, always come and vent here anytime too. This site is a great help.
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Reply to FrazzledMama
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"well I will think of killing myself when you leave for a week"

```
I am surprised to hear that my presence is that important to you.

I hope you don't, of course, because I love you. But you have a right to make decisions about your own life.

Mother, you are already killing yourself with the alcohol, just more slowly. I wish there was some way I could help you, but you have a right to make decisions about your own life.

```

Have a wonderful anniversary vacation! And start taking less time with Mother and more time with Husband.
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Reply to jeannegibbs
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"downright nasty and rude"; I wouldn't put up with it, and it sounds as if your husband won't much longer.... Why don't you distance some more; stop helping her manage things around her house; encourage her to pay someone if possible, or call a teen church group to do some things, or something. I once told my BIL that he could call us when he was ready to be nice, then hung up. It took 2 more calls, then he gave up. When he calls now, he's civil - you can try that. Each time she's rude/nasty, you hang up or walk out; she'll catch on! LOL
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Reply to mally1
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Dear Upstream,

I'm so sorry, I know how hard it is when you are trying and trying to do the right thing but it feels like nothing is good enough with your mother. From everything you have said you have done your duty and responsibility. It's hard to have boundaries sometimes with our parents. I didn't have any and it just turned to anger and resentment in the long run.

I know its hard. But you have a right to protect yourself and your husband from verbal abuse. It's okay to have boundaries.

Take care. Thinking of you.
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Reply to cdnreader
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It sounds to me as though these threats your mother is making are an attempt to manipulate you into changing your behavior. I’ve been faced with these kinds of folks me whole life. I would simply tell her that these attempts at manipulating you will no longer work. You will continue with your plans and will enjoy yourself. You will be back at the end of your trip and will pop in to check on her. End of discussion
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Reply to Valenciasmom
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What stuck out to me isn’t your mom but your husband. I hope you’ll have a wonderful trip with him celebrating your marriage and having no focus at all on your mom’s drama. Easier said than done I know, but your marriage deserves priority and some nurturing
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Reply to Daughterof1930
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