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Hi went shopping with mum today and shes spent a fortune on me buying me things she cant afford I accepted one or two things but the things i said we couldnt afford she went and bought them for me behind my back I am now sitting here with a pile of clothes and dont know whether to feel grateful OR scared?? She does buy me alot but I think its because she wants to make me stay and has thrown it my face when we row "after all ive done for you?"

Has anyone else experienced this form of blackmail I feel that she is begging for me to stay and look after her by buying me stuff?

I used to feel guilty but cant anymore because I never ask for anything im finding this heartbreaking like she feels she has to bribe to be looked after?

Dont know how you deal with this?

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My mother was a "manipulator" too and threatened to take me out of the will numerous times. That worked when I was younger, but as I got older and had some life experience that wised me up, I started to tell her, "Go right ahead. I don't need your money. I can take care of myself. If you persist in threatening me in any way, I can back my truck up, load, and leave." That worked. Occasionally, she would try again, but I'd say the same thing again about loading the truck and leaving. When she realized that I would do just that (I did once before for 17 year--she couldn't find me) she stopped threatening. These kinds of people are little dictators who think they have you over the barrel. When they discover that you aren't over any barrel and can walk away from any situation, they stop threatening. They wise up because they realize that, if you leave the scene, you, the person they were depending upon, they are in trouble.
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Yes. I have. Actually, my experience really fits the caption, rather than your actual experience ... and I don't think I can help you with that one. However, this would be a good time to jump in with mine as well - I *desperately* hope this one help someone, and that there is an answer for the both of us.

My Mum is quite well-to-do, and I grew up that way. Dad's dead, and Mums has this great big house full of treasures. The earliest memory I have of "Do what II say, or I'll take you out of the will", I was five. She's been pulling my strings with that one ever since, but in the last years it has gotten really bad, culminating in last June.

I'm 50, and a widow for ten years. I had to come back to this gilded Hell hole after my husband died to care for insane father and nearly-blind mum. Not quite four years ago, I met a man I thought I could love. We had an on-going close relationship, and Mums decided I should marry him, but first live with him. I don't like to do that, and his home was 3000 miles away in a different country. I kept making excuses, and then she broke her hip, so I had to stay. Still, I was getting *major* pressure from both sides to go live with this man. She finally picked a fight out of nowhere, and told me to GET OUT or she'd call the police, even though I was her sole caregiver. She told me it "was for my own good."

Unable to hide his true self in that proximity, it turned out he was a serious emotional abuser, and a narcissist. In no time he had me walkng on eggshells, doubting myself, and feeling like dust. My visa ran out, and back I came. I told her all about it, but she kept making excuses for him, she never thought I had any sense, and he had her convinced he was God's gift. I wouldn't leave and wouldn't leave, for 8 months. Then it came again, "Get Out." So back I went. Pretty soon the abuse started up again.

And then came the point of the story, sorry it took so long. She wasn't happy with that, she wanted a wedding. Ooo noooo biiiiig mistake! I wouldn't budge. And then : "I am remaking my will on 2 June. If you aren't married, you aren't in it." This crazy loser she wanted me to marry was out of a job, and I knew I would need the house to live on - not in. I married him last June, and 6 hours after the ceremony, he was giving me Holy Hell before my evening purse hit the bed. Then she broke the other hip. So now I'm here, he's there, and we aren't speaking.

The point of all of this was this : She's been holding that damned will over my head my whole life. Now she's gone too far, and got me married to a very, very hateful man who doesn't seem to be at all interested in me anymore. THAT is just about the ultimate interference. So don't let this happen to you. Thank you for listening. I thought that's where you were leading with your question. I'm sure some of these folks can help you with your dilemma. Best of luck. {{ Hugs }}
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Be careful with this - it gives me so much pleasure to shop for my grand children, there is often not a lot older people can do physically , their brain does not allow them to participate easily in conversations or projects. Perhaps this is the only way she feels she can share in your life. If you are going to move - then do so now, this will allow her to process the fact that you have a life which is not going to be lived out in that town. It also gets other relatives motivated to participate in her care and future. DO NOT be a door mat, there is a syndrome , which makes relatives feel guilty if they try to live out their own lives. Your mother has had her children and is now moving into the last stage of her life, she can still choose at this stage to move near you in a new town , or stick with what she has in her old home. Be kind but firm, she will come to a stage where it will no longer possible to live alone, I believe children should not be "black mailed" to stay, when in her right mind , she presumably encouraged you to make a good life for your self. This is not abandoning her, just making it clear that your future lies else where, BUT she is welcome to share your life, but on your terms. Perhaps you could plan a "holiday" visit to where you are wanting to live, point out to her why you want to be there, do your home work first, find out what is available for her, before you go - then make a date and plan to stick to it. Get other family members involved if possible.
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It's inconvenient for you, but, if your mom can't afford this kind of shopping for you, you'll need to quietly return the items to the store when you leave your mom's. Explain the situation to them when you do and then try not to take her back to that store the next time.

Mom's do like buying things for their daughters though, so let her buy you one or two small things when your out if it makes her feel good. It's one thing she can control in a world where so much control has been taken from her, sadly.
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My mom has done that to me, too, or tries to give me $50 for gas after shopping. I usually just decline or let her buy me a bag of apples or a bottle of nail polish, something small that just costs a couple bucks, and point out that it's something small I'd really like, or I just deflect a bit, turn down the money and say she can treat me to lunch at a later time.
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While it is true that you can't really reason with dementia, it doesn't hurt to try to comfort her. still, you can't expect it to sink in; just be prepared to have the same talk over and over again.
I agree with the above: thank her for the gifts but assure her you don't need the gifts to make you love her. By the same token, tell her that these gifts can't change the reality of your life and schedule; that you will be with her whenever you can but the gifts don't change the amount of time you have away from other responsibilities.
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Try honesty. "Mom, you don't have to buy me things. It is very thoughtful, but I will love you any way. I will always love you and be here for you. I'm not going anywhere so let's just go out and enjoy each other's company and talk. That is the greatest gift you can give me. Tell me about...." and ask about her "old days", time with dad, her parents, anything to end the old ways and start the new. Knowing she has dementia you might need to do this on a regular basis. But it reassures her you will not abandon her and gets her talking about something she knows well...the past. It also puts the two of you on a closer basis in a less tense atmosphere.
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Thanks guys its a very sad situation shes is being taken care of but yes it is a time to discuss her living on her own now. I want to move away from here as I hate this town im happy for her to move with me if she refuses then we need to talk about a NH as she cannot live on her own now BUT shes still competent so I dont know how this will work out later she will refuse to give up her home think shed rather die than give any assets to a NH which is the only solution unless the doctor can intervene? A terrible situation to be in I am still awaiting a diagnosis so without this I cant discuss this with my family they want a diagnosis as they are not convinced its dementia and think its depression/old age? I will soldier on alone until I cant take anymore and may just have to leave if my health gets worse over this. I want to do the right thing but maybe even living with me is not the answer as I cant be there 24/7? anyway will wait and see what happens.
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Since dementia has been determined, I would take control of the situaton, knowing what I know now. Get Power of Attorney authorization, put her bills on auto pay and arrange to have a certain amount available for her to use on a credit card account after the basics are taken care of. Thank her for "the stuff" and then return it. This will alleve your angst, and hers, and will change the dynamic. She is coming from an "old" place of fear, and you have to think of treating her as you would a little child, not the mother you once knew.
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kaz - your profile says you know your mom has dementia.

dementia people do things that don't make sense in many contexts...it's the nature of the disease.

YOU trying to figure out HER motivations or reasoning doesn't generally turn out to be productive.

You have to go along with what they do as best you can, make neutral statements so as not to aggravate, and correct things in the background when she's not looking. Too much odd behavior on her part should be telling you the time is coming where she won't be able to be left alone.
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Maybe simply try telling her when you're out shopping that you don't like this and you don't like that of the stuff she tries to buy you, before she buys it, might slow it down. I've had a slightly similar situation, we had to borrow money from my dad a few years ago to help pay a health insurance deductible on my husband who was being treated for brain cancer. My dad actually got in my husbands face when he was terminal, yelled at him and said "I pay your bills", the cause of this behavior towards my husband? We got our daughter a new phone for Christmas, my dad thought we changed her phone number too and that he wouldn't be able to call her which he did obsessively. Yah. I avoid all money issues with dad now, he is constantly trying to bribe me to take care of him, which I do take care of him anyway, but he is a very abusive person and disrespectful to others, is afraid of being abandoned and he holds lots of guilt, it is a sad situation for him, but he also is a very sad person.
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This sounds sad. Your perception is "blackmail"; mom's perception is being generous. Did she buy you these things while you were shopping together or surprise you with these things?

I would reassure her that although you appreciate the gifts, you want to spend quality time with her and you want to do that unconditionally, not in exchange for gifts. Explain to her your time constraints and then give her a schedule of when you will come by, visit, etc.

Always return these things and make sure her account is credited especially if she can't afford. You might want to consider if she has dementia or ALZ and doesn't understand her purchases or debt....if that is the case, you probably need to help her understand this and/or take precautions that she doesn't overdraw on her accounts.

I know your feeling guilty and feel the pressure of the bribe -- but don't let her guilt you and just reassure her by telling her your time constraints and make sure you visit often and call her in between visits or every morning or evening -- whatever works for both of you.

Also, consider if she is lonely, if there are others (neighbors, friends, other children) who can visit regularly or offer companionship, outings between your visits. Maybe get her involved in senior center activities. Check her local area for the nearest senior center, her church or other that might provide visiting or companion services.
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