How do I deal with an 85 year old mom who is in good health and sis + I live with who cries when we can't eat dinner with her every nite?

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I am so very tired and feel physically sick. My sister and I live with our 85year old mom. Our dad died from lung cancer 12 years ago. We all lived in the same 2 family house. No mom lives upstairs by herself and we live in the bottom half of the building. I work full time and my sis takes care of the house, the errands, the cleaning, mom's doctor's appointments, and the shopping. She does not work. We both try and fit everything in that needs to get done. Not to mention the banking and financial issues which there are many completed issues in. We also are trying to have a semblance of a life. We don't have boyfriends and hardly every go out socially. We do most of the cooking and usually eat with mom most nites. She likes to eat at 5pm, even on weekends. This of late has been becoming problematic for us since firstly we sometimes are not even finished all the errands by then in time to cook or have spent so much time on errands that are now rushing to have meal ready by 5pm. Or we didn't get back from errands until late and had to have late lunch so we are not even hungry at 5pm. But we have dinner with her. We have been putting in a few nites a week for "doing our own thing" as we call it to either not prepare a big meal and/or just take care of what we need to and have a late evening meal alone. We also do this to have space. Our mom has a narcissistic personality, has no friends, and can be very mean. She was always difficult but now has become more so since she does not drive and depends on us for everything. She recently did something against our wishes which caused us and her more directly some great embarrassment. We were so angry about this but did not directly tell her anything. Now here again we just had to tell her that tonite and tmro we won't be eating with her (and don't get us wrong, her refrig is stocked with food and she has all the capabilities to cook). The reason or this is that I am having a horrendously busy day at work and am exhausted and my sister just now returned from a full morninga nd early afternoon of grocery shopping and is just now having lunch and eating at 5pm tonite will be too early and she is also tired. Also we can't eat tmro since we have many errands to do and then home to do outside gardening which we have fallen behind on. So thus we won't be eating with her tonite and tmro. My sister just called me to say mom is crying.

I am sorry to report that mom is losing her control over things since she doesn't drive and since she now has to depend on us for everything and hates that we do things based on our schedule. Please don't think we are prima donnas, we are not. We just have a lot of things to do and we need to prioritize. Mom sometimes wants us to jump and run when she says to for things that are not as important ... it is all about her will and not getting what she wants when she wants it.

I am rambling on here ... but we are just so depressed and tired.

We love our mom, but we can't take her anymore. Being around her 24/7 is a drain on us. My job is killing me and my sister is worn out with chores.

So, the question here really is how do we deal with her crying about us not eating with her every nite and how do we make her understand that we still love her but need our space without hurting her feelings. Thank you for listening.

I don't know how to deal with this. We can't go on like this. We need some space. How do we make mom understand that she

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As often happens, you ladies have become the center of your moms world. Without you, she is lonely and isolated. She is probably controlling but she is also grasping at you to maintain something of what she thinks life is.

How large is your 2 family home? Is their room to have a bedroom set up for someone such as a nursing student who needs a place to live? She could buy her own food, but you could provide her room for no charge or for a slight utility charge, on the condition that she helps your sister do some household chores and she is available X number of days a week on a pre-arranged schedule to have dinner with your mom. As far is your mom is concerned, this person does not have to be a "helper", but can be described as a friend home you need to help out temporarily. Just an idea.

I reviewed some of your previous posts. Did you go to an elder care attorney back in March when you were planning to? I don't know what your moms funds are but I do know you can write up a personal service agreement that could pay your sister, and if its done correctly it can even pass the Medicaid look back test.

Furthermore, should your mom have to go into Nursing Home utilizing Medicaid, there is a thing called MERP where your state tries to recover some value from and owned home. There are exceptions for disabilities and family who have taken care of an elderly person for more than two years. A member going by "igloo572" has posted extensively on this topic. Go to your avatar, we need to choose MORE and TOOLS will drop down, choose that, then over to the left side, choose the option to look for other members and put igloo572 and the bar. REVIEW her many posts. IF you think something applies to you, ask a new question, start a new thread
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Ignore the crying and the guilt-tripping and go on with your lives. Tell mom "sorry - we can't eat with you tonight - but we left _____ in the fridge for you, and on ____ night we can have ___ for dinner." Is there an old friend or family member of hers than can live with her to give her some company??
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Based on your writings and sometimes incoherent statements, the first thing you and your sister need to do is sit down and talk with your mother about your concerns. You do not say she has dementia, and since she can cook (you stated), then let her fiend for herself at least 3 - 4 days/nights a week. Unless you have a 20,000 sq. ft. house, I don't understand why there are so many chores to do and so much grocery shopping. Cook meals, freeze them, and then defrost them for anytime you want to eat. Change the clocks so mom won't know it is 5 p.m. This is my husband's age category, and they always seem to look at the clock when asked about lunch or dinner. If her body clock says eat at 5 p.m., then let her eat then. If she cries you are not eating with her, politely tell her you are not hungry, close the door and go about your own business. You do not have to stay in the house to hear her crying. She is a manipulator and you are allowing her to control you both. If you want to have your own lives, then you have to be the adults and control your mother. No one is holding a gun to your heads by staying and you can decide for yourselves if you want to continue living this way. It is all up to you. No one will solve this issue but you both.
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Both you and your sister could benefit from the support of a caregiver's group. This website is great, and it would also help if you had face-to-face support from those who can encourage you NOT to take the guilt-trip when your mom offers you the ticket. Be kind but firm with your mom. Do not reward inappropriate behavior, and pitching hissy-fits any time she doesn't have the world revolving around her on a minute-to-minute basis is NOT appropriate....although you can't blame her for using it if it gets her what she want. AGAIN, get to a face-to-face support group ASAP and as often as possible. blessings to you and to your family, G~
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lmb123456 is right on target, you are seeing the tantrums of a five year old. It will only get worse if you give in. The next card she will play will be the "I'm dying" guilt factor. Tell her right out "You are acting like a spoiled child and I will not put up with any tantrums." If she starts to cry say "That won't work. Pull yourself together." She can behave, she simply chooses not to.
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Truthfully, I think we all know we're looking at a child's response to not getting their way. Somehow we all figured out how to make the child understand this wasn't going to be the case....now, we are in the position of using those same tactics on our parents. It is true that, as our parents, they deserve a certain level of respect but as has been said multiple times in the responses above, we also have lives to live that shouldn't be entirely lost because of our caregiving responsibilities. So, yes....sit your mother down and explain the "facts of (your) life/lives" and that you love and will continue to care for her but you will also be caring for yourselves along the way.
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I didn't even have to finish reading what you wrote. I agree with some of the other answers. Your mother is a controller and she knows what buttons to push on you and your sister. You gotta be firm. Here is that old guilt monster raising it's head again. Tell her how it is going to be an stick with it. Let her cry. I bet as soon as your out of the room it stops. Hang in there. My mother did me that way for the first 5 or 6 years I lived with her. Now I know when something is real or not so real. But you and your sister have to learn to stand up to her and not let her bluff you. You can do it.
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My Mom would do the exact same thing when we would go out to pick up a few things and I don't even live with her! She would tell me she had not eaten for days, which I knew she had because another sister that lives close by would take her down food and stay with her while she ate plus another sister would pick her up something at a restaurant and take it by on her way home from work.
My time is so limited since I'm in Cancer treatment that a quick run to the local dollar store is about all I can handle because the chemo making me so sick but Mom would still insist that we had to go out to eat even though the thought/smell of food would make me worse. She would tell me that if I didn't eat she wouldn't eat which I had to hold my ground on that one because I would have gotten sick. Then she would finally eat and then tell me if she ate anymore(which normally would be a bite or two) she would get sick...and she would go into details while I would be turning green about how sick she would get. Finally my siblings got after Mom on this one when some of them witnessed how she talked about getting sick to me. No amount of talking from me would make her stop.
What it was with Mom is she wanted to stay out all day doing things while I couldn't do that. I had tried my best to talk her into going to the Senior Center(they have a bus that would pick her up-she said that since she has a cane they couldn't help her--they have a chair lift plus people on the buss that will help her), also a Widows Club plus other organizations that she could go out and do things. So Mom's not without resources on things to do...she just refuses to do them.

The story here is, your Mom like my Mom is a controlling person and don't give in. She will get worse if you do. I told my siblings that NO more was I doing these little games...and I haven't for over a month now and I feel so much better as you will if you just take a stand along with your sister. It's hard but trust me, after awhile it's such a relief to know that you are doing what is right with yourself. Hugs your way!
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She's trying to control you. Stand your ground. She's going to get angry, but after the blow-out, you & sis shouldn't make any contact with her at all....eventually she will come to her senses and see that SHE has been unreasonable. Don't be a player in her "guilt trip" game. You & sis have a right to a guilt-free life. Yes, you love Mom & you don't mind spending time with her, just not ALL of your time.
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She has been ruling your lives for a long time. Believe me I understand it. It's a complicated issue when you have a narcissistic parent. They're not too old to learn, though. You have to stop revolving around her. She is NOT your life, just your mother. It's not easy to say this our do it since you have been a willing participant in her world, I know because I've been one in my mother's. You have to have a, life. I have an outside agency come in the partial days a, week so my husband and I can have free time. There's no reason for her not to eat alone. I know she'll pout, try to make you feel guilty, but just think, what kind of parent doesn't want their adult child to have a happy life? A narcissist is the answer to that question. I have asked Mom point blank why is it that she doesn't want her daughter's to have a life and she says she does. Actions speak louder than words is more than a trite saying. Change your life before it's too late. Let your Mom know you love her, but you have a life that doesn't involve her. It's not going to be easy but it's necessary. You don't mention how old either one of you is, but I'd imagine you're at least in your 50s. Don't let your mother suck all the life out of you. You'll never be able to do enough, do think about yourselves a little and a very life.
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