My 92 yr old mother lives in my home. She has always been a controlling person. Things always had to be her way, and growing up I usually didn't do any thing right. I've been told by her that I am not a good daughter, but she will sing my praises to the nurse or the PT that come in to help. She's very two faced and it seems deliberate. Further she says she can't do anything. I do everything from pouring the water for her to take her pills to all meals, all cleaning everything, BUT when I go to the grocery store she wanders around the house. I know this because I have caught her and I find evidence, she will take things out of the laundry room, sometimes garbage like boxes or empty containers and bring them to her room. She's been a hoarder for years and it's hard to keep the hoard down without her goiing crazy. She's on two antidepressants but it's not enough to stop the behavior. Once when I went out for an hour I came home and found her on the floor she had walked away from her walker and fallen and broken her arm, she was mad at me because she was on the floor so long. I would like to put her in a nursing home, but I don't control her assets and she still owns part of a home out of state. The liquid assets she has will only keep her in a nursing home for a month, and according to the elder lawyer I spoke to Medicaid probably won't help till she uses the assets of that house out of state, but she won't sell it. It was her family home and she now owns it along with her niece (who is willing to sell). I just feel so stuck. She keeps saying she wants to die at home, but I feel like I'm the one that will go first.

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My sister was a psychiatric nurse and gave me a lot of insight into dealing with controllers.

You state your mother is controlling; seems to me that's exactly what she is doing, as well as manipulating you, in part through the inconsistent approaches toward your involvement. I can't help envision her as a puppeteer, holding the strings to your emotions and juggling them up and down as she chooses.

She'll have that hold as long as she knows you will respond and that she can manipulate those responses. So take away that ability to upset you.

She makes herself appear grateful to others by praising you but puts you down when there's no one around for her to impress. So she plays to the crowd; that predisposes anyone who might her your complaints about her ingratitude and treatment wonder if it's not her who has the problem, but you.

If it's any comfort, it's really difficult to deal with a controller; they're not going to change, so unfortunately the only thing that you can change is your attitude - response and reaction.

The next time she criticizes you for something, tell her in a very emotionless manner that you're sorry she's not pleased. Sweetly ask her what other arrangements she'd like to make. Don't ask her "if" she wants other arrangements; take it as a given and ask her what steps she'll be taking to find someone else. You might even ask her what you can do to help her find another caregiver.

This would be cruel normally, but remember - she's manipulating you, and controlling the situation, so you try to turn that control back against her.

If she complains about living at your home, give her a list of facilities and suggest she call them then make arrangements to visit them so she can decide where she wants to move.

It helps to leave the room after dropping one of these bombshells so you don't immediately feel bad and begin apologizing.

The goal is to have a nonaccusatory, uncritical response every time she puts you down.

I suggest these also not to be cruel but rather to try to even out the balance of power between the two of you.
Helpful Answer (23)

smikulik, I know that if this was anyone else but your mother, you would have probably already put her on the street. Mothers can have such control on us even when it is our house and they are dependent. There are such problems when the roles become reversed.

Does anyone have your mother's financial power of attorney. It sounds like the house she owns needs to be sold. At 91 and in poor health, your mother is not going to be able to move back there. So right now it is an expense that could be converted to money that she needs for her care. I know how hard it will be to get her to let go of it. Is there anyone else that can be the one to keep talking to her about it. I get the feeling that, as her daughter, you will be resisted when you mention it. It would probably make her more adamant about not selling it, if only to show you that you're not the boss.

I had to smile when I read that your mother wants to die at home, because it is your home. How long has she lived with you that she feels so at home with you. I sympathize with what you are going through with her. It sounds like her world has narrowed, so that now she sees only herself and what she wants. I know you won't be able to change that, but you can have her do the things that you know she can do. If she wants you to bring water, tell her it would be better for her to get up and get it. You don't want her to lose the ability to walk. It is true that if they don't use it, they lose it. Having her do things for herself not only helps her, it will help you.
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In my case my mother has borderline personality disorder and narcissism. She is and always had been very controlling. I believe in our family that it is inherited as her sibs all were very nice, but the odd cousin has it, as does my sis and my daughter. My grandparent's home was pretty normal.

You have to protect yourself against the negativity and criticism. A key thing here is who controls the assets - who has financial POA? It does sound like the house should be sold and the money used for her care. Is she still considered competent? If so then she controls her finances,

I believe if she has reason to go to hospital you can refuse to take her back to your place saying that you can no longer look after her. Then the burden is in the social worker to find her a placement. You could talk to your local social services and also the agency on aging about some solutions to you getting out of the house more and placing her. It sounds like you are imprisoned in your own home and that is not good for your health. I refused to take my mother into my home as she would have wrecked my life with ager and manipulation. She went from her home into apartments and then eventually into facilities ( she likes moving). You need to look after yourself. The latest figures are that 40% of caregivers die before the people they caregive. You have to take steps to care for your own needs. No matter what you do, she will be as she is - negative, controlling, critical, putting you down... so you may as well do what is good for you. ((((((hugs))))) Let us know how you make out.
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Smikulick, I have noticed whenever a parent moves in with a grown child, or vise verse, the family dynamics isn't two adults trying to work together, but it once again becomes "parent vs child". And that is tough to break. We are viewed as kids instead of adults, and what do we know :P

My boss is very controlling and it took me about a couple of years to realize that I have a voice and that I could be heard. The first time he snapped at me about getting some work done, I held my ground and said "do you want it done fast, or you want it done correctly?"..... whoa, you could hear a pin dropped, and that felt so good. Since then he accepts my opinions and we work as a team, with an occasional flare up.
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Thanks for validating my feelings. Some people think I'm the one with the problem and she's just a sweet old lady, but when no one is around she's a different person. In the nine years she's lived with me I have tried to get her to do things like get her water and such, but she will purposely try to walk to the sink without her walker. When I say anything she just gives me a dirty look and moves away.
She has not given anyone power of attorney and she refuses to discuss selling that property with anyone. She want total control.
So I'm just stuck with her in my home and I'm stuck doing for her, because if I don't she will purposely chance falling. I know it sounds crazy but that's what she does. Thanks for listening, somehow that alone takes some of the pressure off. I lost my husband unexpectedly 4 years ago and he was my rock. Without him I'm lost.
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So let her fall. Let her break something. She'll go to the hospital and then to rehab.

You can't make her happy. Let her do it her way; once she's in rehab, you will say that it's no longer possible to care for her at home, she needs assisted living at the very least. She'll end up being very happy there, the Belle of the ball, talking about her awful daughter.

Look, I know this sounds cruel but from what you've told us, your mom has a mental illness, dementia or both. Impossible to provide this kind of care at home, with an enmeshed child providing the care.
Helpful Answer (6)

Jessiebelle and Gardenartist, you two are spot on, and it amazes me how a parent can feel they can continue to control and manipulate us IN OUR OWN HOMES! Ugh, it's infuriating and I will be using those techniques in the future, like today! ! Thank you both and the OP, as I learn so much each and every time I log on here!
Helpful Answer (5)

My father is over 102 and has always been a controller. We (two sons) finally got permission to sell the house. Neither of us live near - so it is sold. Does your mother have any idea of whether the house is salable or not? Does she have any idea as to whether you can sell it or how does she know all that? I would suggest it be sold and she may not even know it. Caregiver dementia is REAL!! I am living as a caregiver and only 76 but am well aware of Caregiver dementia because I see it in the location we live. Just recently a healthy caregiver died - in my estimation he died as a caregiver with dementia. The lady who helped us, when we bought into the facility years ago by telling us that the healthy one frequently dies first if they continue to give the care for the spouse. They may be able to assist you in the transition. It is not easy but may help you to enjoy life longer. You can make an informed decision - go ahead and live life and bring honor to your mother by letting the caregivers who work only 8-12 hour days care for her.
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smikulick, does your mom have dementia? Is there any way you could have her declared incompetent? I like emjo's advice. It makes me cringe to read that your mother tells you that you are not a good daughter. You are a good daughter and your priority as a good daughter is to put your needs first. Those of us with narcissistic mothers know all about these "sweet old ladies" who love to play the victim. Hugs and prayers to you.
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Correction: 4th paragraph, should be "who might hear ".
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