I am feeling overwhelmed by my parent's moving close to me so that I can take care of them. This is not something they have asked of me, it’s just assumed. They make demands of people without doing anything in return for anyone. My brother wants almost nothing to do with them.

I got pregnant at the age of 16 and they kicked me out of the house. I was homeless at one point, but did end up putting myself through college. I’m doing well financially now so they’ve moved into an independent living center close to my house because they expect me to be there for them or help pay their expenses when they can’t afford it. They retired before they reached age 50 so they could travel and enjoy life and now they say money is tight for them.

They stress me out. They are demanding, manipulative and they are not kind to me. They never have been. I’ve made many efforts over the years to build a positive relationship with them but it’s just not possible. They will take and take and never give.

I’m in my 50s now and still working and hope one day to stop working and enjoy my own retirement - the way they got to do. They never took care of their own parents much less their own kids.

I want to move away because I am so overwhelmed by them. Right now they are on a two month European cruise and I feel free when they are away. I am dreading when they return. By the way, they say they have no money (and always want me to take them to dinner and pay, etc) yet spend thousands on vacations and whatnot for themselves.

I see a counselor and we talk about boundaries constantly. I’m just wondering if anyone else has been in my shoes and what do you do in a situation like this? My parents are in their early 70s but my dad’s health is poor now and my mom won’t take care of him, hence they’ve already moved into the independent living place so other people can step in and take care of my dad for her.

I am serious that I want to move away but that is not possible for me right now. I know it sounds selfish but I feel very beat down after years of stress with my parents plus my own life challenges I’ve handled with no family support.

When both of my parents, at separate times "hinted" about me financially propping them up, I made is crystal clear that I would take over ALL of their finances and get them on a budget with their income first, then we could talk about dipping into my finances.

They both had tantrums of Emmy quality performance. I repeated this every single time the subject came up. They knew what my boundaries were concerning me financially propping them up and they decided that me telling them how they would spend their money wasn't of interest. Just what I thought, they just wanted what they wanted regardless of how others were impacted.

No. It is a complete sentence that doesn't require any explanations.

Best of luck!
Helpful Answer (20)
Reply to Isthisrealyreal
LSRSsa May 25, 2023
I don’t understand how grown adults can behave this way.
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The running joke in my family was, where is Lea gonna move to next to escape her toxic parents? Europe? an only child with the only grandchildren, my parents followed me all over the country to be "close by" to "help me out" which translated into ME helping THEM out. Plus, my mothers passive-aggressive communication and behavior techniques were such that she was IMPOSSIBLE to deal with. Much like it sounds your mother is with the Silent Treatment and Fit Throwing. Where's the Fainting Couch, ladies, eh? 🙄

What you need to do is go low contact with your parents. Set down some VERY STRICT RULES you never break and then NEVER BREAK THEM. Because mother is waiting for you to crack.....for that tiny chip to open up after she Throws A Fit, allowing her entry into your world once again, thru FOG: Fear Obligation and Guilt. That's the manipulative pattern. Ask for something, you say no, she pitches a fit, you acquiesce, aha! She gets her way, her mission is accomplished. Meanwhile, she's cruising the Mediterranean while you're popping Tums like candy, trying to figure out how to finance HER next whim? I don't think so. The gravy train dries up here and now, ma.

Read this article and get some strategies on how to recognize and cope with passive-aggressive loved ones who display narcissistic traits:

Realize it's not your job to be your parents retirement fund or their entertainment committee now. They are in the wrong here, not you. You are entitled to have your own life and they are expected to live a life within the parameters of their own INCOME. Period. If that doesn't work for them, I recommend playing the lottery. They'll have a better chance winning IT than getting anymore $$$ from you.
Helpful Answer (19)
Reply to lealonnie1

You need to be blunt with them. I did not ask u to live near me, if you can afford cruises and where your living you don't need me to support you, and I am not. You chose to kick me out at 16. I was able to raise a child and go to college with no help from you. I am working so I can retire and be able to travel. I am not giving you any of what I have worked for. Financially ur on your own. Stop traveling, get cheaper place to live. Sorry but I am not your ATM. I need to support myself as I have since I was 16.

And why do they need to go out to eat, IL supplies their meals.
Helpful Answer (16)
Reply to JoAnn29
lkdrymom May 25, 2023
This is exactly what needs to be said, then you need to block them on your phone.

I can't believe a grown adult would even ask this. These people threw you out in your time of need and now expect you to supplement their extravagant lifestyle. How is there any other answer then NO (maybe HECK NO).
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Thank you for the huge morale boost everyone. I get stuck going in circles in my head with this. I’ve seen on these forums that many people become trapped in difficult situations with family members and I don’t want that for myself. I do not want to be trapped. “Running away” is probably not the answer but it sure sounds nice. I’ve made some good progress with boundaries but I’ve still got quite a bit of work to do. I definitely don’t want to sign anything and become financially liable for anything. Thank you for the heads up on that. My mom has asked me to be executor of their will but won’t tell me where it is. I am not asking any questions and I will keep myself as uninvolved as possible. I’ve worked hard for many years and I just want some peace and quiet… and no more heavy burdens. Thank you enormously for the confidence boost.
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Reply to LSRSsa
Way2tired May 25, 2023
Good for you !! Keep it up . Boundaries sooner rather than later is a good thing.
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Wow. Be up front and tell them you won’t be paying for their them in their old age. They’d better figure it out.
Helpful Answer (14)
Reply to Hothouseflower
Lizhappens May 27, 2023
"My mom has asked me to be executor of their will but won’t tell me where it is."

I would refuse if I were you. The cost of being involved with them and their will is too high financially and emotionally while they are alive. So many posters have said their parents threaten to change their wills, cut them out, pitting one child against another, etc..

Even after they die, being executor of a will can become a time-consuming nightmare, dealing with probate court, having relatives accusing you of financial abuse, thefts, etc.

Don't get trapped.
Helpful Answer (14)
Reply to polarbear

LSR. Welcome to the Forum. We have a ton of new members of late, and that's a GOOD THING. Your problems are NOT a good thing, but the fact you are addressing them is going to be such a relief.

First of all I am thrilled to hear you are seeing a counselor, because it would have been my only answer in a situation like this. Read Henry Cloud's book Boundaries, as well, as I would bet it has been recommended to you. Will show you that you aren't alone.

It's lovely to DISCUSS boundaries, but it is IMPLEMENTING them that will work, and that's ALL UP TO YOU. No one can do it for you. It's a CHOICE you have to make lest you be a volunteer victim of what you have described. You are strong enough to do this and you have the support of a good therapist.

I have BEEN there in terms of being a caregiver who allowed my tendencies to spill over into my life. I had to learn to say no. And I can tell you it is TOUGH at first, but gets easier. As human beings we are creatures of habit. Bad habits need to be broken.

If you enable your parents dependence on you now you are well and truly done for.

You will have a lot of anxiety/fear when you begin to say "no", and the first times you do it will get a bad reaction almost certainly from your parents. But bad reactions don't kill. You will survive, and you will become less and less vulnerable each time, will feel more and more strong. You will soon enough learn to simply shrug it off and move on.

Learn to embrace your inner "bad little girl". Learn to love her and nurture her. Learn to say "No. Sorry, but just NO." Go to the mirror right now and begin to practice. Just say NO.

Lastly, listen to the Podcast Dr Laura's Question of the Day. In a few minutes a day she can teach you what it is to be strong for yourself.

Again. Your responsibility is to choose: Be the whining victim of bullying parents or be your own woman with a full and joyful life. I wish you the best in making the choice.
Helpful Answer (13)
Reply to AlvaDeer

"I want to move away"

Sometimes this can actually be the solution.

A relative of mine was being maipulated by pushy entitled in-laws. Many people advised moving. Eventually did. This ended the problem.

Being out of the locality, past a daytrip visit distance, can be an excellent ready-made excuse.
"No I'can't. It's too far".
It gives a script for the new boundary.

Yet, there are many posters that still feel that enormous pressure, still have fear, obligation & guilt (F.O.G). It's WITHIN them & therefore goes with them, even if they move.

People provide all sorts of care. From calling up for social chats - to one full day a week (driving, appointments, shopping etc) - to traveling 6 hours & staying one full week every month - staying for 3 months visits at a time. If this works for them, works for BOTH sides, great! Honest, giving, fair.

What is NOT great is when the care equation gets skewed by F.O.G. When the giver does not feel able to be honest with what they can give.

How much do WANT to be doing for your folks?

It's ok to be honest with yourself.

Maybe this is a lower amount than now, much lower or even zero? OK

Or maybe some help or involvment would work as long as you are free to be honest & say no when you need to. This will take practice & energy.

I have reached a good stage with my LO where I feel more like an Advocate than Caregiver. I now feel free of that FOG & able to say no. It took time!

However, I do have some strong personalitoes amoung my in-laws. In the future, if I found myself continually under pressure I would move out of range rather than live with continued drama.
Helpful Answer (13)
Reply to Beatty
Hothouseflower May 26, 2023
I like your response.. You gave me something to think about.
“I know it sounds selfish……”. WHAT? FULL STOP RIGHT HERE.

I recently realized, and said to another poster here, that SELF CARE and SELF-ISH, are two VERY DIFFERENT THINGS.

Consider. You left your parents’ home at their command, under painful and difficult circumstances, found a way to educate and care for yourself, and now feel concerned because you want to use YOUR money to provide for YOUR care and comfort? Does that really appear negatively selfish to you? It certainly shouldn’t.

Consider. Have they taught you by their actions, to believe them and to trust and believe that what they say is the truth?

They are “not kind to you”. YOU are kind to you. As WELL you should be!

What a splendid job you’ve done, by raising and ultimately elevating YOURSELF, when they denied you the sympathy and compassion and generosity of spirit THAT THEY OWED YOU.

I wish I’D been your mother. Please be glad that you were able to parent yourself.

Don’t plan to move away out of fear, or because of fear that they can still damage you. You have the RIGHT to interact (OR NOT), NO RESPONSIBILITY to pay for anything they CHOOSE not to pay for themselves, and AND NO RESPONSIBILITY for kindnesses they chose not to extend to you when you needed them most.

Start today to detach in your mind, and your conscience. You are using the services of a counselor, and hopefully a good one. Use what you hear, and don’t second guess that your good care of yourself isn’t what you really deserve.

My situation? Parents who knew no better, allowed the more damaged of the two of them to run the other, were controlling until I did develop a small but powerful physical separation. I ultimately developed a somewhat healthy and positive relationship with both of them that was comfortable and manageable for all three of us. If you want to, that may happen for you. Or MAY NOT. Your choice either way.

You can DO THIS ON YOUR OWN TERMS. PLEASE, prove me right.
Helpful Answer (12)
Reply to AnnReid

LSRSsa-please keep in mind

--the more you do, the more they will expect and take for granted.
--if they call you selfish, tell them they are using you, and you're protecting yourself.
--if they call with a problem, do not volunteer, put it back on them by asking "what do YOU plan to do about it?"
--if they outright ask you to do things, tell them you can't (no time, no money, don't know how). Tell them to call a professional, hire someone, etc.
Helpful Answer (12)
Reply to polarbear

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