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My father passed last November, and now my mom is alone. She won't move in with me, nor will she even consider looking at assisted living facilities. She will not have any senior caregivers come to the house, either. My mother has always looked to others for her happiness, not within herself. She has always blamed everything and everyone else for her unhappiness. Since my childhood, my mom could have won 'The Complainer of the Year' award, if one was being given away. My dad put up with her incessant griping for 69 years, and now that he's gone, it's my turn. Brother is 1100 miles away, so he's not available to help. No matter how hard I try to please her, it's NEVER enough or good enough. Everyday when I go to her house, if she starts complaining and being argumentative, I tell her that I am not arguing with her and I leave. I don't want to end up saying something that I'll regret later. Mom's 87, in fairly good health, with some forgetfulness. Any suggestions on handling her would be appreciated. Thanks.

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Put yourself in her shoes. She lost a husband of many years. Instead of telling her what to do, maybe asking what she needs, would get a different response. If she is of sound mind, she should make the decisions effecting her life, and live with the consequences.

All people, no matter there age, want to be in control, make their own decisions. Your job is to facilitate her decisions, not make them. She raised a wonderful daughter, she must be doing something right. Get rid of your angst, and enjoy her.
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Thanks to those of you who have responded to my question about my ornery mom. I love her dearly and want to do the best by her, but she is driving me nuts! I have to go back to work next month ( I teach school), so I have decided to get her one of those emergency pendants, since she insists on staying by herself. I am sticking to my guns when she begins to go into one of her tirades, and I tell her I am NOT arguing and I leave. Like I said before, arguing doesn't do any good, and then I feel guilty about what I said. It's good to know that I am not alone. Thanks again.
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goingbonkers60 and samsmom 43 - I feel for you both in your situations. But you have to understand, you cannot control how your parent feels in any way, shape or form. I wish it were that easy - but only they can control that. goingbonkers60 - you're doing the right thing and a great job at just leaving when your mom gets to complaining and it starts to get to you. You can't change whatever the situation is (that she's complaining about) - but you don't have to endure it either. And you shouldn't feel guilty about it at all. I've had to do it many times - and had to come to the conclusion that it is not my responsibility in satisfying everyone - especially an unhappy person. And samsmom43 - you're on the right track with a tough love approach. If reasoning doesn't work, then you (and your brother) need to set boundaries (even if they are mental ones) so your father's actions do not bother you because your father is an adult and, unless he has Dementia or Alzheimers, he is entitled to make his own decisions - just like us. If he makes a "bad" decision, it will be his mistake which he will have to deal with. But it will in no way be yours or your brother's fault. If his decisions are unsafe or unhealthy decisions - I suggest you get him to a doctor for a second opinion and to see if he has or is developing Alz/Dementia which may explain why he is doing so and need your interaction. And please know both of you are not alone in getting no respect or appreciation for your efforts. This is, unfortunately, common in elderly. Sometimes parents think their kids meddle in their affairs too much - which may be true to a certain extent - but usually we're trying to take care of them the best we know how. But if they have Alz/Dementia, it's even worse. Good luck!!!
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You are doing the right thing by telling her you won't take the abuse and leaving. The next step is that she will up the ante by calling you to tell you she is in agony and dying. Do not rush over, just call 911 and they will whisk her to the hospital. I am amazed at how manipulative they can become.
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now you see why men usually die years before their wives do. its because they WANT to..
that wasnt a hateful, sexist statement, just a funny joke.
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Your dad's passing is less than a year, she is devastated by it. I would not have her move in with you! Complainer of the year award, well if she lived with you it would be 24/7 day and night, so be grateful for that. I would get the legal stuff taken care of now before dementia and other issues set in. Perhaps her doctor for some meds to perk her up. She has history of looking outside of herself for happiness, unless she is self-aware this will not change. She will make you however, miserable if you don't set up some ground rules in so far as what you will or will not do.
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I am having the same trouble with my Father. My Mother passed 5 1/2 years ago and he has become very selfish, argumentative, depressed (denies it) and we feel he is on the road to becoming a hoarder. My Father is fully capable of living alone and doing for himself but the decisions he is making are effecting his health and safety. I live 1500 miles away, and I help as much as I can from here, but my brother has taken the reigns and done all he can. The sheer lack of respect and appreciation, for all that has been done for him since my Mother passed, is more than we can take at this point. We want him to live happily and safely. My brother and I are at the point of feeling we should be showing "tough love" and really calling him out on everything because our showing "traditional love and caring" has gotten us no where. It is to the point it is effecting both my brothers and my marriages ....and it is not right. My fear is my Father will say "my decisions and how I live shouldn't effect you". My Dad is 83. My suggestion to you is to consider what I am going to try to do....but it will take planning, money and time. I am going to fly to see my Father and sit down with him and my Brother and use the tough love....I see no other option. Something has got to give. I know he misses my Mother but his behavior is no way to honor her, she would NEVER stand for this.
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