Hello everyone. This is very hard for me, but I don't have anyone to talk to about the mental state I am in. I would like any advice or suggestion. I am a single mother of two girls, living with mother, 68, three years .She was always my best friend, but she changed after my father's death. She became like codependent on me and my children, she doesn't want to be alone. I feel like I lost my freedom, like I always have to meet her expectations, and if I fail I feel overwhelmed with guilt. She acts like we are everything to her and doesn't have a life of her own. It smothers me and makes me feel stuck. She can buy an apartment, but she doesn't want to live alone. I love her, but I am not happy, and she can smell it, so we occasionally talk, and than I cry, cause I want to tell the truth, but not to hurt her feelings. I told her I want freedom, but not the kind that will make her feel misareble. Yet, she is bored everyday, wants my attention, and doesn't get that I don't want to hear same stories about neighbors, or to be her sole company. I also have a boyfriend, and she said some mean stuff about him, though he is helping us, in everyway, he is the kindest man I've ever met. My children aren't close to her, and she blames me. We function ok, but in the atmosphere is some kind of depression. She used to follow us around, or she "escapes" in her room. This situations makes me frustrated, I am drowning in guilt. I wish she wants, by her will live alone, but this is not the case. I don't want it to be my decision! Be alone, miserable again. I am not yet caregiver, but I will sure become one. I go to every shopping, mowing yard, and often hard work. She cooks, and sits all day in her room watching tv, going nowhere, though I think she can, but she said her balance is not good cause of ad she uses. All her life revolves about me and my children, and this is exhausting. She doesn't want to take a short walk with women, they are boring, and stupid, which is true, but..I so much want my freedom, I am exhausted from so much interaction with her. My brother helps, but he doesn't want to live with her, he is single. And they will always fight. She laments, I don't want to be burden...Or, I am not a trash, I feel like I am persona non grata, I wish I was dead. Then, I feel so guilty, I cry, take ad, and my day is s*****. I want to not to feel resetment, I hide it, suck it up, but it is still here, everyday in me. I really love her, but it is so difficult to live like that, like walking on eggshells. When I see her sad face, it just sadens me. How to cope with this? The thought of living with her forever, makes me desperate frustrated, and then comes the guilt. I feel like it is not for for me, single mother to watch out about her feelings, lonelines. I struggle to raise daughters, drive them to school, homework, doctor...I AM deprived. And if she does move, guilt be eaten me live, I don't want her to suffer. But she ss needy for US, and when I put boundaries in interaction she feels rejected. And as she gets older, I think I will explode, and I don't want to. My brother, boyfriend and everybody thinks it's good, that she is with US, etc, and they feeel sorry for Her. Still, they don't live with her. I just want everybody to be satisfied, but I Guess it's not possible. I hate myself for wanting my freedom, and not that daily "drama" and interference, that codependent style. What to do? I am so desperate, that sometimes I don't want to talk to my boyfriend. And the relationship with my children I think would be better, cause they will have to work Harder to Help, I would be stronger, when there Is just three of US., Not to "mothers" What to think, how to deal with this ambivalent situations? Not to mention that I am not a caregiver, though Here depends will be greater with time, and when I think of that, I think I want to shout myself. I don't want relationship where in future I will become resentful. But she always makes two stories, I don't want to bother you, to Die knowing I was a shadow to your happines...And that's it.
What to do?
How much do you and your kids have to sacrifice for her? How much is enough? Please believe me when I say that if you and your kids don't get away from her resentment will be the least of your worries. You will grow to hate her. That hate and resentment will destroy whatever happy and loving mother/daughter relationship you still have with her and will overtake whatever happiness you had with her in the past too.
If she has some kind of clinical depression, then she needs professional psychiatric treatment for it. There is nothing you can do for it. Getting dragged down into her pain and misery will not help her. It will destroy you.
Accept the things you cannot change. Change that which is within your power to change and have the wisdom to know the difference.
You cannot be your mother's entire life because you will risk losing your own if you allow yourself to be.
woman was sooo independent.Like I am with new person.I am ashamed for all, cause there are people here who actually looks after bedridden parents.Just thinking of that people makes me suffer.
Does Mom live with you? Its only been 3 years. I know you don't want to hurt her feelings but you could have her another 25 years. Not fair to your daughters. You need to make her understand that the arrangement is not working. That you and your girls cannot be her everything. That is not healthy. That she needs to get a life.
You need those Boundries. Sounds to me she is passive-aggressive. Its really all about them. Go about your daily life. Your girls are your priority. Suggest going to a senior center. Maybe a Church. Tell her she needs to meet people her own age. If your girls have an extra-curricular thing like a sport or dance, of course take her with u to the games or concerts. If she doesn't want to go, that's her decision her chose. In my opinion, your life comes first. Mom becomes part of it, not the center of it.
You think you'd feel guilty if she moved out and you felt you'd forced her?
But seriously, how much worse could it be than how she's living now, and apparently sinking deeper and deeper into this hole of depression and dependency?
Key question, though: when did your father pass away?
She isn’t going to leave on her own will. It’s your home, therefore it has to be your decision. She could live another 30 years.... 68 is not that old.
You will need to tell your mother you have a primary responsibility to yourself and your own children, that you are unable to live with your mother, that you will assist her in finding her own living circumstances and hope she will find a church group, an elder group, a hobby group or book club or whatever interests her to branch out and make a life.
Your mother has easily two more decades to live. It is up to you whether you choose to stay sacrificing your life. It is NOT fair to your children, and THAT should make you feel a bit guilty in all truth. You OWE your children the best life you can provide for them. Moreover, no one will give you thanks for this sacrifice, nor even be overly helpful or sympathetic.
Your Mother has had he life. She has some years now that can be happy and productive if she choose that.
I encourage you to seek a counselor to help you comb out your next steps forward and as this is a family matter you may INCLUDE your mother and children and get together and discuss a way to move forward.
I sure wish you luck. It is often easier to stay stuck where we are because it constitutes the "known" and moving out even to stand up for ourselves and our own right to our own family and home is very scary stuff. Get support. And remember to use the right words. This is about grief and pain. Not guilt.
1. Your mother may have felt alone after your father died, and a bit lost, especially if they were close and she was dependent on him. That's understandable. So you'll have to focus on a plan to make her less dependent on you.
2. You're so involved and stressed right now that it must be difficult to step back and view the situation with some distance.
3. Your profile indicates you're an "overthinker" and musician. What instruments do you play? This is a good opportunity to inject some relaxation for you as well as your mother.
I suspect that she's overwhelmed with a lot of aging issues, although she's still relatively young. Do you have discussions about what she can anticipate as she ages? Do you help her define coping skills? You could intersperse these probably challenging discussions with music, playing to relax both of you.
My experience with rehab centers is that music truly soothes the soul. So I implemented it with my parents whenever I could.
4. It would help to discuss her and your expectations, and come to a compromise. And it would be helpful for you to examine why you feel guilt for not meeting her expectations. This may really be at the heart of your concerns.
5. You wrote:
" I go to every shopping, mowing yard, and often hard work" I'm not really sure what this means. Are you a professional lawn mower? Or are you saying that these are activities to get some space away from her?
6. You also wrote:
"her balance is not good cause of ad she uses." I'm not sure if you mean some kind of cane or what, but apparently she still is able to walk.
For activities, I would contact her local senior center and find out what's offered, albeit limited b/c of the pandemic. There may be something like a telephone tree where members can call each other. Good senior centers have a lot of activities, but it obviously depends on the area, staff, and the pandemic. But don't rule it out as an option.
In the meantime, from your post what I'm getting is that you see you, your children and your mother as separate entities, not interacting ones. This is important.
Ask your children how they can get to know their grandmother better, and ask her as well. I think what you need to work on is getting people to stop thinking in isolation but rather as a family, working together and not separately. That's the primary aspect I took from your post.
If you're an overthinker, start that now, and think how EACH of you can contribute w/o sacrificing your independence. That may sound simple, but it can be challenging and worthwhile.
And try to see the possibilities, not the downsides. I think right now you feel overwhelmed and it's hard to feel that you can climb out of the mental abyss you may feel traps you.
You're not alone; I suspect that many caregivers go through this sense of isolation, and it's hard to step back and create positive perspective. But if you see your mother as an asset, especially to your children, that's at least opening the door to address other issues.
Good luck, and don't forget to resort to music when you feel stymied or depressed.
I have a mother JUST like this, except she's 94 and STILL 'wanting to run out in the street in traffic & get run over' or 'throw myself out the window' or 'shoot myself with a gun' or any number of other nonsensical 'threats' designed to make me feel guilty and take her in to live with me. Uh, no, not happenin' ma, sorry. She lives in a Memory Care Assisted Living now, an Assisted Living before that, and in Independent Living before that. Why? Because she's a narcissistic personality type with HUGE issues that I could NEVER tolerate living with. So I put my foot down long ago & continue to do so, in spite of the idle threats. I manage her life FOR her from 4 miles away, from my desktop computer and telephone, and that's it. I go visit her and call her (to listen to all the drama and chronic complaining) and do my best to make her happy, but I always fall short of the mark. Women like this INTEND us to fall short of the mark; it's their goal to make us feel 'less than' and they're very good at their job.
Listen, I love my mother but I don't like her, so we don't live together. I realize that, I know my limitations and I certainly cannot take care of her medically now, with all of her health issues. Your mother doesn't have any YET. She will, though, especially if you tell her she has to move out.........so steel yourself. I am sure she has an arsenal full of 'guilt cards' to pull out as needed, so the "I wish I was dead" is just one of the small guns she's using against you right now.
Figure out a game plan. Find some affordable housing for her and then let her know it's not working out living together any more. I love ya ma, but we can't co habitate ANY LONGER. PERIOD. I'll do everything in my power to help you get set up in the new place, and come visit frequently, etc. But we both need our OWN space now. The End. Leave no room for negotiation, then expect the histrionics to begin.
Stand your ground. Grit your teeth. Make the move as swift and smooth as possible. But do it. Otherwise, expect the remainder of your life to be devoted to your mother & her games, her illnesses & her needs forever. Take YOUR life back NOW by putting your foot down. Guilt has no place in your life b/c you're not doing anything 'wrong' by asserting yourself & living the life God gave you. You deserve to.