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She moved in with us 6 years ago saying she was just going to be a neighbor. She built a little apartment on our house which was 1/4 of the entrance fee alone for most ALs around here. She is healthy enough to do so much for herself but refuses. She's a great one for " I'm gonna." She plays the little old lady when it suits her which is whenever she can con someone into doing for her. Well, me. The others don't bother with her. I tell her the least she can do at dinner is clean up her place. My kids have been doing it since they were toddlers! We rearranged kitchen so she is right next to trash and only a few feet away from sink & dishwasher. She doesn't want to do it so she will sit at table alone for 20-30 mins and wait for someone to walk by so she can hold up her silverware and just expects whoever to grab it! The other day she went as far as walking over to dishwasher, which I was loading, with her silverware in hand. It would have been quicker and easier for her to drop in washer but she was determined to have me do it and when I didn't offer she stood there jabbing them at me over & over til I did take them. Then she just walked away without even a thank you for it or meal! We took her out last night to an appt.and stopped by a fast food place. Where she ordered and walked away ( as usual, no offers to pay even tho she's got more money and we pay all her bills). We cleaned up trash and she was still drinking her drink. She got up and walked right next to trash, turned back around and walked to table again, slammed down cup and yelled at me to "throw this away!" I did snap her her saying yes your highness! Which got me a dirty look and a little shove. My 1 sister ( only one that shows any concern for Mom or me) said to just do it for her. But I've learned that the more I do the more she expects! IF she really couldn't do for herself it would be different. She never ASKS us to do anything. She just announces she wants it done then waits for us to volunteer. There is no appreciation because in her mind we owe it to her, she didn't ask so no thanks needed! Now she also expects that if she announces that other relatives need or want something like 2 baths completely remodeled or a new floor put in for Aunts, Uncles, siblings...whoever, we SHOULD wait on them too for FREE! And she gets mad when we say that's too big a job ( my husband is not a contractor! He's a business mgr!) or these people have their own grown kids who should help them. She's getting so bad she wants someone to dunk her teabag for her. Let me say again, she IS capable physically! There is so many more issues with her living with me that I am beyond stressed and sick and I feel like a prisoner because of the guilt she lays on if I try and leave but she won't say a word to the angels who do nothing for her because she doesn't want to upset them. I'm so stuck now. She's healthy and looks like the 6 years she's been here is just the beginning but I can't take much more. But I am stuck because even tho I've given 6 plus years already and the rest have given ZERO, I would be the greedy S.O.B that got the addition on my house and then dumped her. They have no idea what its like to be with this demanding woman 24/7 because they are nowhere to be found from year to year unless there is $$ in it for them but they all like to tell me how bad I am for not doing more. I've tried to talk her into going to senior center and making friends but she is so anti social and says she has enough friends and enough to do ( which is a big old fib!) And now she tells me she doesn't like the same things I do or watch on TV so I shouldn't do or watch them. She doesn't like our friends visiting so she has chased them away. She gets mad when kids have friends over because they mean nothing to her so why should she have to deal with them? ( She's too nosy to go to her rooms and ignore them. She just sits and glares at people making them very uncomfortable) She said she expects me to just sit there with her all day or drive her around to see others. I am so resentful of the others especially when they expect us to do for THEM too! Sorry for the run on paragraph but when I get on a rant it just all falls out in one long stream. If she would just get a hobby, help me help her by getting a life alert or meals on wheels, anything! But she just wants to be a 2 year old in charge! I know this is similar to previous posts but I had to get it out again. Thank you all for letting me rant and rant whenever I need to!

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I've been dealing with this type of thing for nearly 25 years so here's what I wish I'd been told then. I think that some of the trouble we have with our mothers stems from expectations based on their memories of elder care. In my family, Grandma lived with one of the kids, Mama was a stay at home and Grandma subtly ran the roost as she was the elder. It's been a shocker for my mom that this is no longer the case, with working daughters. I wish we'd pushed back and helped Mom stay on her own and independent longer because by the time the serious health issues arose, we were burned out already. In the long term, my suggestion would be to get this squared away before your mom has health issues on top of the rest. In the short term, let her know that you're making changes in the house - respect is expected, no demands, no maid service, that it is a normal thing to take time with just your husband or just your kid, that you will be taking time just for yourself even if it's an hour at night in your room to catch your breath. I say "that's not possible" a lot because then she can't pick apart my reasons and argue every point. As to the demands for other people, a simple "that's not possible" with no explanation. And to anyone who criticizes, if they have no skin in the game, they don't get to Monday morning quarterback.
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I would get very firm about what I am prepared to do or not. You have ignored her and she should get the message if you continue and stand your ground. With going away plans, you must stay with your arrangement, if she can be left alone to do things. She's got you wrapped around her finger.

There was a time when my dad first came to stay, he made many many demands and we jumped, resentfully at times, but we jumped nonetheless, until it became unbearable and we felt silly tagging him along everywhere we went. We decided that NO must mean just that. A firm NO and it' stopped. He threw tantrums, refused to eat, ignored everyone, threatened, the works, but it fell on deaf ears and it stopped when we started treating him like a spoilt child. Short of sending him into a corner, that is what we did, became very firm and even told him, you can make yourself happy or miserable, your choice we said.

We had to stick to the plan, or me and my sister would be in a mad house by now or have run off screaming into the hills to not return.

She has a home, a family, food, a warm bed and people who care around her, what more does she need.

Take care :)
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Well its been another rollercoaster 2 weeks! Today is especially bad. She's done no more than usual but for some reason her usual is bugging me beyond my limits!

I have been walking away when she tries to get me to wait on her. I have not been engaging her when she tries to get me to do what she wants, when she wants. Mother's Day was good for her because all 3 other sibs showed up for a short visit. I thought this was a good thing but am starting to notice when they visit she gets nastier with me and is much harder to deal with for weeks after. Usually they Boohoo to her about all their problems and then she expects us to feel sympathy and rush to fix their troubles. When we don't volunteer, her anger is visibly worse.

Even when I point out that these things they tell her are not that bad or they are contradicting their stories ( saying they can drive 3 hours here or there and then saying we need to drive her to visit them because they have a pain and can't drive???) she still pushes us to do things to "make life easier for them!" I have asked her why they do nothing to help their own mother or us but think we have the time, energy or desire to make life easier for them. No answer or I get yelled at about family loyalty. I guess that only works one way??

I all but stopped talking to her because no matter what I say, its not right and she just starts telling me how rough she and sibs have it...sitting around being waited on, real tough! So I stick to short answers and a lot of "I'm not sure" ( this also makes her mad but she can't pick apart an I don't know, so its just easier) plus she digs for info so she can tell all our personal business to anyone just so she has something to talk about. She can't tell what she doesn't know.

We were supposed to go away next weekend. She had her plans set. A few family functions and where she was going to stay. Things for US changed and we are now going the following week. All of a sudden she needs us to replan everything she had set up with others. Now that we will be here, it seems none of them can do anything for her like they were going to if we had left. When I say Mom, you had this all worked out and it doesn't need to change, she called me a liar and says she never said she was doing these things. I honestly can not win and am so sick of it! One good thing about her being so mad at me is she thinks she's punishing me by threatening to DO THINGS HERSELF! And MAKE HER OWN PLANS! Now if she would only do it.....

I'm ready to tell her addition or not, she's making a decision of a move to AL a lot easier on me with every snarky comment!

I am pure pressure cooker! Thanks again, for letting me release a little steam!
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You may have to communicate in a nonverbal way that you will not tolerate mistreatment like that. She is taking it for granted that you will tolerate whatever she dishes out. If it is safe to walk away, walk away. Tell her you will NOT do nice little things for her or stay in the same room with her until she is civil. Then you will be more than happy to do reasonable things that that are beyond basic care she really needs.

When someone is in a facility and acts like this, they tell you to skip visiting for a day or so, and they are right. It sends the message that you are not there to be taken for granted and abused without limit.
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TKUP66 you're getting there. Good for you. Its all a little game of manipulation and power, but mostly its because they haven't found their inner peace.

Great that your husband is on the same side as you. Very important.
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TKUP, excellent suggestion! If Father E suggests it, it would be harder for her to challenge the suggestion. Maybe you can talk with him about some of the other issues with her behavior and he can help with those as well.

I've found that family members often listen to "authority" figures more often than they'll listen to family members.

Your response to Chicago 1954 was very insightful. Your mother longs for the companionship of those who don't visit her and takes out her aggression and possibly perceived rejection on you - displaced anger.

It's all the more reason why you shouldn't feel guilty about standing your ground. There is no way you can control the behavior of the family members who don't visit. Nor should you suffer because of it.

I don't know if this is an option but could they Skype with her, if they use that technology? Does she e-mail if Skyping isn't a solution? Maybe you could convince them to at least make a conference call?

Or perhaps talk with them privately, in the event they need some encouragement and explanation how their absence is hurting your mother.

Another less "active" option is to ask them to send cards to her. (My father saved all the cards he received after each broken hip surgery and SNF stay and still looks at them.)
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GardenArtist
Thank you. I have tried getting her to ride along with others. I even said I would call church and ask if there was a regular that lives by and could get her. She wouldn't hear of it. I think maybe I should call Father E and maybe if HE suggests going with someone she would be more open to it?

Chicago1954
I can't go with her due to health issues and rods in back. Not to mention, Mother's Day she might not even want to go because she's always waiting, hoping for a visit from the other 3 kids and 11 grandkids. She doesn't like to leave in case they show up. She's afraid she might miss them and they wouldn't wait. Even though they are not far, it has happened that they don't show up for that day, her birthday and several times they said they'd pick her up for graduations and birthday parties and then never bothered. Didn't even call and say we aren't going to take you. So she sat here all day, then cried to me but said to them " its OK, don't worry about it." This is one reason I have such guilt not doing what she wants because it feels like the rest of the family really has abandoned her and we ARE all she has left. I'm teaching myself that she knows this and plays on it to get her way from us. But she has overplayed it to my breaking point so if they don't show, cry to them!
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TKUP, good for you! It's encouraging to see people taking away the control that others seek to impose on someone else's life. And I'm so glad your husband stood up for you!

Do you know anyone in her church? Perhaps you could contact someone in something like the church's relief society or at home helpers, or even the pastor/bishop/head of the church and explain the driving situation. Maybe someone will stop by and pick up your mother since she is unwilling to take that step on her own. My father made that kind of arrangement and is pleased with it, although I could tell he felt that it was an imposition on the drivers.

It wouldn't surprise me though if your mother resisted by saying she isn't ready, or being grouchy with the driver so she can insist that you're the ones who have to do it, in which case you can tell that that's the only option and if she doesn't want to go with a designated driver she can just stay home. And don't feel guilty walking out of the room and leaving her alone before she has a chance to fight back.

Still, every bit of resistance shows you're not going to be manipulated any more.

And if she gets nasty as it sounds she might when the weekend is over, don't forget you always have the option to just get up and walk out of the room or house until she calms down.

Good luck; I know this is a difficult road to travel.
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You are doing good. Now, maybe you could all go to church with her for Mother's Day.
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She came out this morning ready to be driven to church, which husband does do. She told me the church is changing to a summer schedule and he HAS to drive her at 8 now. Or she could go at noon. I told her noon is out because that cuts our day down to waiting to take her and pick her up at 1. She went to him thinking he would over ride me and say OK. When she told him he HAD to take her at 8am, 12 pm or Sat. @5pm ..it was HIS choice when to take her. He told her no! He said if I am home, awake or don't have plans OK but I'm not spending my weekend sitting around to take you to church! Good for him. She's been there over 6 years and refuses to talk to anyone or make a friend that would be willing to go with her. I think expecting him to sit around and not make plans just to drive her when she already goes once a week anyway, gave him an insight into what I deal with :) I'm glad but a little worried I will pay for it tomorrow during her morning "help getting my daughter ready" visit.

Thank you Shadyacres & Jessiebell for the supportive comments!
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Well, I told husband to STOP going for her dishes. He said no, he doesn't mind helping her out once in awhile. I said you help her out when she NEEDS it not when she doesn't! If you keep giving in she will do less & less and she will wither away and drive me crazy doing it. He said he disagrees. I told him to stop doing it even if he doesn't like it. We'll see?

I also have not made dinner for her in a few days. She won't use stove but she has mad her own microwave dinners. I also keep reinforcing when she says I need my medicine now, that she needs to order ahead or we won't rush down and get. My son had surgery and was going in for his week check up when she told him to go get it. Perfect timing! He said he couldn't because he had to go to docs and we had to take his dog to Vet so no one would be able to get to drug store before they closed. She didn't say another word about it til Friday when she said I ordered more meds. I said I have to get some for dog tomorrow so good for giving us notice! We'll get them all Saturday!"

This isn't the real test. The weekends are usually better because he's home and kids are home. I don't mind making dinners whole family likes, when they are here and I WANT to! I just don't want to be chained here because she won't do for herself. I even said if she can't do day to day things for herself, she needs to hire someone who can or it will be moving time for her.

Wish me luck that I don't pay for it Monday morning! But I will just keep telling her hire someone, do it yourself....what she really can or move to a place that will do everything for you!
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TKUP and ShadyAcres, just wanted to say that you guys rock. Things can get so unbalanced. I love reading of people taking back their lives. It can make us feel guilty, but we are put in a position that no one should be in. I hope that everything goes better now.
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You need your husband to support you and put an end to this madness.

We are similar situation (posted a week or so ago) having built an addition and provided for now 88 yo MIL. Not as demanding as your mother, but total limit on our ability to live our lives. In our case, money not much of an issue but we will not private pay for AL for her. She's in rehab now but we are moving her to a very nice facility Monday. She can private pay for ~6 months. Then it's Medicaid, which they will take.

It has been a very interesting week. To say she's not happy about it is an understatement, but she sees that daughter and son and their spouses are united. A lot of "woe is me" and "what about my money?" What's interesting is how she has pretty much turned on us, after having provided EVERYTHING for her for 8 years. Even pointing out that she already had to give up much of her stuff to move into the 450 sq ft suite we built her. When I pointed out we couldn't deal with her repeated falls like the last one where she spent the night on her floor, she claimed she just didn't want to bother us and could have come up our stairs to get us if she wanted to. Bear in mind she had cracked ribs and we had to call 911 to get her up.

It's just very interesting to see her true nature revealed. She's very selfish and has no appreciation for all her daughter (my wife) has done. I think back how considerate my wife always was, but now is pretty much "meh," regarding her mother. We're just done.

I know many others don't have the resources or support that we have and are to each other. However, no one should be made to suffer at the demands of others. It was our choice to provide for her for 8 years but that's enough, she needs full time care we are no longer willing to provide. If she loses her nice suite with a lake view and free room and board (and actually, I'm a pretty good cook!) and has to live with all those "old people" and be "institutionalized" as she says, then that's just too bad. Had she not divorced my wife's father when she was about 40, she'd likely be financially solvent and master of her own world. Instead she chooses to lash out at those who provided a lot for 8 years. We've decided that we really don't care what she thinks, we're actually really nice people!

Enough rambling about us; point is you have to take control of what you can, good luck!
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When your mother has completely taken over and is making your uncomfortable in your own home and friends are disappearing and no longer come around and you find yourself more and more isolated, stressed, resentful, pissed off, etc, etc, etc, it's time for a NH. :)
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You have all been such a big help. Yesterday was a bad day. So far today is better. I used some of the comments on previous questions and they were very helpful. I talked to her doctor without her knowledge and he agrees that it sounds like dementia. I have asked her thoughts on what she would want IF that were to happen ( in her better moods) and she agreed with rods in my back and my other medical problems I would have to move her. I also know she acts wonderful when she's with doctor. We shall see how that goes.

I can't afford to buy out the addition. My bills went up a lot when she moved in and I can't work. We pay everything..her phone, taxes, maintenance, food. She does pay small rent when she remembers.

I think she sees senior centers or ALs like they used to be when she worked at one in the 60s & 70s. She always would come home and say how awful they were for "the poor souls who lived there." My aunt has taken her to one to visit aunts friend, and she couldn't believe how nice it was. I think I'm going to ask for a tour and info on the one a mile away. I want to have ducks in a row if the time comes.

I have talked to her about her behavior and she says I'm making it up. I ignored that. I said she better start doing what she can or she will wither away and I refuse to do what I know she can. If she wants to live in dirt because its an effort to run vacuum, so be it! She screamed and carried on and threatened to move out ( I wish!) But I have not cleaned her apartment in a while! I hired someone to do it and she fired them. OK, no skin off my nose. Its mainly the dinner issue and she comes out in morning to " help" me get my 18 yr old ready for school???? I don't help her, she's 18! And that's when she starts arguing. 1 more month and the reason for her coming over at 6:30 will be over!

I may not know anything much about you all, but I feel like I have friends who have my back now! I'll post how doc appt goes and how I'm doing after talking to husband. Thank you again for all the great advice. I will be trying so many of your suggestions! I wish you all never need help but I hope I can offer you all such great advice in return if you do.
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My heart goes out to you- and what helpful responses you have been given! Fortunately, I have not had the experience that you have had, but I HAVE had the experience of living with an alcoholic- I too found myself cast in the role of enabler, and it wasn't until i took the examples of those wiser than I with similar problems that I saw what I had to do. I took my hands off my husband and anything to do with his life.......yes- it was very hard to do, but once done I found that I had freedom to be ME, and do things for myself instead of being a permanent slave for a selfish, self-indulgent man who I thought of as 'King Baby'.
Your mother is behaving in the same way as my alcoholic did, obviously for different reasons, but the result is the same..the lemon doing her bidding and pandering to her every whim is suffering.......read your responses, my dear- and act on them! And the very best of luck with that- BTW, get your husband on the same side as you asap- he could be your greatest asset!
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I agree. but the problem is we do try first.
I can identify with a lot of what you say. At first my dad insisted on going EVERYWHERE with us. We thought it funny and indulged him, but then it got out of hand and he would even stand at the lingerie counter with me and my sister, when we realised that it is too strange and odd. We took him to movies and if he didn't like the movie he would leave the cinema and walk out with my sister in flight after him. I'm inside the cinema and the two of them on the outside, so that stopped. He also liked blaming all his mishaps on her son. he has no relationship with his grand-children, no bond. Eventually and I mean eventually, we had to sit him down and tell him in no uncertain terms that enough is enough and we will no longer be doing all that. He put up quite a fight and we just ignored it, hard as it were, until he realised his tantrums were fruitless. After 5yrs, a lot of it has changed and we no longer ask how high when he says jump. Now it's more the mess my sister copes with, but even that has its limits. We are looking into a facility for him. Its for our sanity and especially so for my sister.

Perhaps you need to get really firm with her over a serious chat and tell her that you will no longer jump. She has to do things to help herself. If the alternative means that you would have to pay her out for the addition to your home.
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I know that my mother would do this, too. Fortunately, she is in a nice NH and doing very well. But, when I went to visit for her 95th b'day, she became dependent on me, about the 3rd day. "Ring my button for me." "Pull me up out of bed." "Push my wheel chair."

Goodness, I didn't realize that she was helpless. :)

My advice is, your mom has a lot of life yet, to lead. She needs to go do that in a AL facility.
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Tokup,
Not sure if we can change mom's behavior. You cannot undo the home addition, you must reclaim a part of your life. With or without your kids, with or without your husband, but most definately without mom.
Even if it means the family has to survive on take out or pizza once a week. You will feel emplowered by not having to wait on anyone once a week.
Try yoga, or movie night or anything that pleases you.
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"How do I get my Mom to stop trying to force us to wait on her and do things she can do for herself?"

By not waiting on her and not doing things she can do for herself.

That sounds simple. And it is, physically. Emotionally it may be a little (or a lot) harder, and if your life partner, your soul mate, your husband sabotages you at every turn, it may be impossible.

Open up to hubby about how critical this has become for you. Try to get him on your side 100%.

You perhaps would benefit from some counselling to help stiffen your own backbone. She's driving away your friends? You need some help!

If you and your husband can't resolve the issue between you, perhaps some couple counselling is in order.

As Ann Landers says, "No one can take advantage of you without your permission." Stop giving permission.
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As far as her not liking your cooking.. my grandmother used to say "theres always butter and bread on the table" ! Stop being a short order cook, she;ll eat when she gets hungry enough. Also do NOT let her chase you and your kids friends away. If she wont back off or go to her room.. "excuse" her by telling them "Mom's having a bad day" or something, put it back on her embarassment NOT yours. You need your friends!. Maybe if you shoot it back on her a few times she;ll butt out or get out.. or act like an adult. I agree if she can't behave in public leave her home.. go out on your own and try to enjoy your self!
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Well, one thing has been explained with your last post. Your husband is undercutting your efforts. So if he continues, whatever you and the children do will be countermanded because he doesn't support you.

And by now she knows she can manipulate him to use against you.

Maybe you can assign him to do all the chores for her - let him cook for her, serve her, etc.

I wish I could offer more than sympathy because this sounds like a really stressful situation. I'm thinking that maybe even some family counseling would help, but I'm sure your husband and mother wouldn't see the need for it and would refuse to participate.

There have been times when I've been so frustrated with my father that I just said "I can't deal with this now", left and went home. Of course I have the luxury of living alone and taking care of him by distance, so I can leave when I need to.

Maybe you can just walk out, go someplace and be alone for awhile just to keep your sanity.
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I said the addition was the biggest mistake of my life! And to answer some of the questions : no, she wasn't always like this. She did have a lot of loss in her life. Both parents before her 6th birthday, 10 babies...some lived a few days. But she was a great ( a little over protective ) mother! She was my best friend until my Dad died. I called her every day and saw them at LEAST once a week.

My Dad had made a few comments about me " not knowing what he has to live with" and that I " had no idea what she was like" but I thought that was just 55 years of marriage. Now I think I know what he was talking about.

I do use paper plates. I have told kids not to fall for the " can you put this in trash for me" and I have left her alone at table for long periods. My husband knows what I'm trying to do and what she expects but then he feels bad for her and he'll go get it. He has talked to her when she gets too out of hand and she will listen to him much better than me. It worked for a while in the beginning but now she just does and says things when he's not here. He now falls for the little old lady and says he doesn't see it being as bad as i say it is so I should just let it go, deal with whatever til she's gone.

I do think I'm the only one she can take her anger out on because I'm the only child that deals with her. She wants entertained but when I say she has to tell the others that she's not happy with them not helping or visiting she says she won't because that would upset them. She doesn't ask so later she can say she didn't ask us to do for her. It was our decision to get her meds or drive her where ever. She thinks if she says it, it is so! She takes no responsibility for anything good or bad.

The only thing she DOES do is her own laundry. She turns one load into a day long event! She has broken brand new washer and dryer 3 times and made wild excuses that someone else did it. They broke in just to do wash! She does her own wash only because she thinks that her sweat pants and towels will be overly wrinkled if they are not pulled out one at a time, while dryer is on, and folds each one.

She doesn't like much in the way of food. No flavor? I try to make something she likes once or twice a week. My family hates it. I've tried telling her I would make plates and freeze them so when I don't cook or she doesn't like what we have she can just pop one in microwave. She said no, it would be too much effort for her. She doesn't like leftovers.

I already have many health problems. We grew up watching my parents and Dad's 6 siblings take care of my grandmother. GM insisted my poor aunt give up her entire life for her. She did, but at least the others helped 2-3 times a week. I told her I don't want to be my aunt and have no life. She agreed GM ruined aunts life. When I told her she was doing the same thing to me she screamed at me that its not the same because I ran off, got married and had kids before she could GET to me! Where as my aunt never got to go out and date, meet someone and have a family. Aunt has no one now. This is how she can justify to herself why it was wrong for my grandmother but OK for her to do the same thing. When I say justify why Dad's siblings helped and mine don't she just makes a face and won't answer!( I didn't run off and get married. She helped me plan wedding for 9 mos).

She has no respect for anything of ours. When she's damaging something I'll ask her nicely to please be careful, its an antique, its new...she'll say don't worry about it, its just and old piece of crap or its not her taste, she doesn't like it so who cares if it gets ruined.

Oh, I am so sorry for going on and on again. Im already feeling guilt about the last rant. She's my very loved Mom and I shouldn't be talking about her like this. Then again she is not the same woman that I knew and loved growing up. We were taught what goes on in the house, stays in the house so I feel like a naughty kid giving private details about our life. Even if she has snooped for our personal business and told everyone she can things like how much my husband makes to what time we go to bed.

Again, thank you all for the advice and support. Please don't judge me or her too poorly on these posts. I am trying my best and she once was a wonderful mother.
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Oh, my goodness. I wish you could go back and cancel that addition onto your house. From what you wrote, a nearby ALF would have been the way to go. But you are where you are now. I can empathize, because my mother is lazy. If I would, she would let me do everything for her while she watches TV and dozes off all day long. It causes a lot of anger in me that she is so lazy. To save my own sanity I had to set limits on things I will do. I pick up the cups and things she leaves everywhere she goes because they drive me crazy, but if she asks me to bring her something I tell her she can get it -- that it would be good that she gets up and moves. I know the things she can do, so I won't do them.

My SIL was over the other day. My mother said she needed something and I commented that she could do it. My SIL gave me this look like she was surprised I would not serve my mother. People on the outside don't understand. If they were around more, they would.

Anyway... the only way I can see to make your mother change is to change yourself. You can tell her that you are doing it for her to keep her up and active. If it sounds like you have their best interest in mind, it is met with less resistance. My only advice is to decide what your mother can do, set your limits, then stick with them.

There are times when I just want to say "Shame on you" to my mother. I know you probably feel the same way. It can work out, though.
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You're right. She will get worse, expect more and more from you as long as you continue to cater to her. She's acting like a child so I think you should treat her like one. Let her sit at the kitchen table all night if she wants to, you're not the waitress. Let her glare at visitors all she wants but don't stop having them over. It is your house, correct? And if she acts up in public stop taking her in public. Tell her that a hamburger from McDonald's would be nice but she doesn't behave in public so it's a sandwich at home instead.

You're embroiled in a power struggle with your mom. This is all about power and who has it. It's your house so the power is yours, mom just doesn't accept that. The next time she pokes you with silverware walk away and finish the dishes later. Just remove yourself from all of these situations. Don't get angry, don't storm out of the room. Just walk away. I know it's easier said than done and things may get worse before they get better but you have to shut this behavior down now. Maybe your siblings don't come around because your mom is so unpleasant.
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I really feel for you; your mother has turned a controlling personality into that of a tyrant. Unfortunately, you have to put your foot down and stop all of this or it will continue to escalate. The more she gets away with, the more she'll continue to dominate and manipulate.

As to the dishes, you might try serving her on paper plates and with plastic utensils, then put a small plastic garbage bag on her chair and advise her to place the stuff in it when she's through. If she hangs around, leave the kitchen, shut off the light and just leave her alone. Most likely she'll really become angry, but there's going to be a period of resentment until she realizes you're not her doormat.

You might also get literature on various retirement communities in the area and advise (not ask, but tell her) to look them over. From what you describe, she'll probably throw them on the floor and go into a tirade about how unappreciated she is. Just advise her then that you'll select one for her as she can't live in your home given her current behavior. Every time she pitches a fit, point out that her behavior is unacceptable and you and your family won't tolerate it. It probably won't change her, but it will emphasize that that's the reason you're dissatisfied with her. Otherwise she could pull the old "you don't love me anymore!" routine as some elders do.

You might even take her to a facility you like and tell her it's a consideration for her next home. Unfortunately, though, I think she would create a scene and embarrass you to the point that the facility wouldn't accept her.

Has she been like this all her life? Do you have any insight into why she's become so demanding and uncooperative? It could also be that you're the only one available; elders sometimes do that - they pick on the one who's helping them, not necessarily because of ingratitude but because of logistics. You're there, the rest of the family is not.

As to alienating friends, perhaps you can tell her that at such and such a time you or your children are having guests and that if she can't behave she'll have to stay in her own apartment. She'll probably act out just to spite you but I don't think you'd be comfortable locking her in her apartment as most likely she'd call 911 and report you. If you have any outdoor furniture or entertaining arrangements, just take everyone except her and go outside. Or leave and go to a restaurant, leaving her alone at home.

I'm wondering also if seeing a social worker or physician who specializes in elderly behavior might help with some insights on how to deal with her. If you take her along, she'll most likely explode but then the professional you're consulting can see her in action and make recommendations. Or maybe you can tell her that you want to help her control her antisocial behavior and have arranged for her to see someone who can help her. Then take her to a shrink or therapist. You may have to do this surreptitiously or she'll refuse to go.

There is a possibility that she recognizes she's getting old and feels vulnerable and is directing all that anger toward you.

I think the other thing I would do is create a list of everything you do, send it to the rest of the family and ask how and when they plan to begin contributing. Keep after them. The next time they accuse you of benefiting from the addition, remind them that they have no standing to complain because they're not helping.

And the next time she suggests you help the family with remodeling or household tasks, tell her you don't have the funds but if she feels that strongly she herself should hire the contractors and get it done for the family.

There is such a thing as being abused by one's elders, and this sounds like that kind of situation. This woman has made your life miserable, and even though it may be hard and alienate the family, she may need to be removed from the home before your whole family becomes ill from the stress. But if she hasn't been this way all her life, there's a reason why she's doing it now and if you could determine what it is it might help.

Good, good luck - I really hope you can turn this situation around, for the peace of mind of you and your family.
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I do empathize with you and your situation. Your mom is taking full advantage of you and it will only get worse. The stress is building up on you and something's got to give and it can't be you. You will suffer health problems from this as so many of us have on this forum. Tough love may be the only answer.

The lives of your children are so important and this all effects them on so many levels. You have been so generous and kind to have your mother live with you; but if she is well and able and can financially afford it; assisted living might be something worth looking into before the family starts falling apart.

I realize this is extremely difficult, but there are alternatives. Take care.
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