How can I help my mom and still set boundaries with her when we do not get along?

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i don't entirely trust her, she's manipulative and mean to me. Over and over i say i will walk away completely but i can't do that i want to help take care of my father at least spend time with him even though he doesn't know who i am. But it is extremely difficult, if i ask questions about her care or just day to day issures it is interpreted as a criticism and emotions instantly escalate. If i try and walk away, i get the martyr routine. I remind myself that is not about us its about my father but it is not easy. I also am not sure he's being taken care of properly. I also am not clear on their money situation because i am lied to about it. Any advise?

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I'm so sorry. This is a tough emotional situation. If it helps - you aren't alone. I think you'll get several people answering you on this.
Learning to set boundaries, detaching from other people's manipulation all while you are trying to help your dad is a tall order. Is it possible for you to get some counseling to help you vent your feelings and to give your strength? Do you belong to a spiritual organization. A leader there may be able to help you. If you belong to a church, they may have trained Stephen Ministers who can listen to you and give you encouragement.
You are trying to do the right thing, and you already know that boundaries are needed in order to deal with your mother and still be around your dad. Support to carry you through can come in many guises. Please keep checking back on Agingcare.com, but also look for caregiving support groups and/or counseling. You will feel better when you get encouragement from other people who have been - or are - in your shoes.
Take care of yourself - that must be your priority. You can't help your dad if your mother gets to you too much.
Carol
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Taking care of my mom I've realized that even healthy seniors have changes in their personalities. They get suspicious and cranky, to use mild words. The real words are probably paranoid and malicious. My mother used to be my best friend. Several things happened like worsening bipolar disorder and some dementia to change her basic personality. Sometimes I think that all I can really do for her is take care of her in spite of her hostility and just hope she finds pleasure in life in her other contacts with people, because I know she likes meeting people in spite of everything. Despite the fact that she's hostile to me, and I'm the villain. Mom in her right mind would be aghast that our relationship has come to this. But I think of her as trapped inside a paranoid, frightened shell. All I can say is we probably all have to detach from our real reactions to changes, especially when parents are suspicious and hostile. POA or conservatorship can cause them to be even more suspicious. Our feelings get hurt, and the ones we are trying to care for seem to want to deliberately foil our best efforts. Sometimes I think, "Gee, I used to be a bad kid sometimes. Now I'm being a really good kid, and I'm not going to get any credit for it with her!" And that's the way it is. That's what peers and friends are for in places like this. We have to have a shoulder to cry on somewhere.
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Bunnyhead - I can relate. My dad has Alz and my mom has multiple health issues including the fact that she self medicates to escape her problems. They live together in a small condo. They do not drive. I am their sole support. Siblings are no where to be found. Although Mom has ample access to get places and do things to get out of the house, all she does is complain and she's really mean to my Dad sometimes. But I tried to explain to him it is because of her addiction. I think he gets it, but nonetheless, it's hard to watch. So when she's mean to me, I just stay away and don't call or anything. She gets the message. And I don't feel guilty. Screw it! Forget the martyr routine. Let it go. Not your problem. My whole life is upside down because I'm the only one in my family with a conscience. I'm in a better place because of this website and the people that support me. I hope you stay on. As far as the money goes, who has POA?

xo

-SS
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I can relate to this Bunnyhead. Both of my parents are in Assisted Living yet my mom resents the fact that she is there. She berates me as the one who "put " them there.
She doesn't understand that my Dad's dementia prevents him from being able to care for her in their home. She also keeps begging my Dad to take her back home.
Her Dementia is worse than his. My Dad continues to try and drive with a suspended license, so he needs a secure facility. I have POA and medical directive. Now I have to file for a conservatorship of them because they might try to go back to their home. This is an awful disease. Thank you for posting about your situation. I hope your mom will calm down, too.
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Bunnyhead, the martyr routine is one I'm only too familiar with. My Mom has been a "victim" all her life. It took me too many years to wake up to what was really going on. Setting boundries is healthy. My Mom (who has dementia) has very deep religious and political views. She gets arrogant and hateful so at one point months ago I told her we will not discuss religion or politics. Not because I don't agree with some of what she says, but because she gets beligerant. I am not permitted to express my opinion if it is in any way different than hers. So...I remain silent or change the subject reminding her that we will not discuss such matters.
Carol's suggestion to find local counseling or a support group for yourself is good. It can be helpful, I can say from personal experience.

And follow up on the question - who has POA, if anyone. You need to get that taken care of before Mom can't sign the papers. Otherwise, taking care of them if she becomes too mentally deficient will be impossible.

Indeed, take care of yourself. Take ownership of the good you are trying to do and dismiss the negative stuff. You are a good person! (((hugs))) Bee
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