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My mother is 66 years old and is not in good health. She has deteriorated rapidly over the last 2 years, going from someone who could easily walk up and down stairs with groceries to someone who cannot even walk through her house without using a walker. On top of it all, she suffers from depression and has never been easy to deal with. While she was living with us, she inserted herself in my marriage, how my husband and I were raising our children, how I dressed, etc. It became too much for me and I started to dislike her and resent what she had done to the relationships in my household. My mother and I had always been close, but she was now expecting me to give her all of my attention, would make nasty comments to and about my husband and children (HER GRANDCHILDREN) and then play the victim card whenever I would finally have enough. She would start to cry, apologize, and then I would feel horrible for getting upset, only for the same thing to happen the next day. She lived in our house with us until a few months ago when it got to a point that she could no longer walk up and down our stairs (inside or outside) safely, and I was completely burnt out from being her caretaker for 7 years. We found an absolutely pristine senior living community for her with all one level living, but the adjustment has not been easy for her. I go over to her house nearly every day, help with any laundry or chores, and help her shower if needed. I try to visit and have a pleasant conversation but it ultimately results in her telling me that I took everything away from her or I threw her out of my house or some combination of cursewords and insults. When she lived with us, there was no escape and my children had to witness her behavior. Now that she has her own space, at least I can walk out the door. But I still find myself going back, calling her to see if she is okay, and worrying that something will happen to her. I resent the fact that nobody else in my family ever offers to call or visit, but at the same time I totally understand why they have all pulled away from her. I remember all the things I loved and liked about my mother, but it seems like they have been replaced by a depressed, angry, woman who has no interest in taking any responsibility for her behavior. I know caretakers suffer from depression, but I am also dealing with tremendous feelings of guilt. Am I a selfish person for wanting peace in my own household? To not have my children grow up around insults and name-calling? When she is in a good mood she is lovely and kind like always, but in the flip of a switch she turns into a monster. I hoped that I would be able to have her live with me for the rest of her life, but I could not take it anymore. We did not force her out. She went and looked at the senior living neighborhood and insisted on putting in for one of the units. Now she tells everyone I threw her out. I am not sure where to go from here or how to deal with someone who is suffering from depression when I have my own depression to deal with. How to you set boundaries with someone who is mentally delicate?

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I feel for you and your issues with your mom. I have a similar problem with mine as well. The mood swings are a killer. My mom is happy one moment and tearing me down verbally the next. My mom is in assisted living and I have tried to make sure I have supports in place to help me take care of her better.

Make sure you have people to help you, even if it costs, this is a sanity saver, not to mention that my mom is better behaved for these people than for me - they take her to the doctor and I meet her there, they take her out shopping, etc. Do leave if things get heated, it is best for you and best for her. You are doing everything you can. I tend to visit with my mom in common areas of her assisted living as she is nicer when there are people around, maybe you could find a neutral area to meet in at her place.

Your job is to make sure she is safe and coordinate care, and it sounds like you have done that. Happiness is something we can't give someone else, as sad as it is they must make it for themselves. Make sure you have looked at counseling as well for your mother. If you have one in your area there are elder care doctors and psychiatrists and these have been helpful. It hasn't fixed things, but I am not alone and have a team to advise and help me.

Most of all don't believe the cruel things she says and surround yourself with positive people to give you support. You do have a right to protect yourself and your family from verbal attacks, by keeping some distance.
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Depression is not a do-it-yourself project, not for your mother, and not for you. I concur with those who suggest you get treatment for yourself. When your own depression is under control it will be much easier for you to cope with your mother's mental illness.
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Terra, the guilt is normal, but we can let it go. Rule #1 is to take care of self, then we can be of use to our family (husband, children first, except in a crisis). Mom does sound like she has now more than depression going on.

JanieByrd63, please don't advise yes or no to any meds. We are all different. And anti-depressants have come a long way in our lifetime. Many are not addictive, and many now have few side effects.
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Terra--
First, bravo to you for taking care of a difficult mom. I am 61 and find that 66 is waaay too young to be so "aged" but I know people are very individual in the aging process--

This problem is your mother's. I have a mother who will rip me to shreds, if given a chance. She does not live with me, but with my younger brother. I choose how much time to give her and do that and no more.

I KNOW she is the "trigger" cause of my depression. I cannot be around her for long or I start to get tense and anxious and super depressed. What you feel is normal and if it continues, do see someone for help--but as long as you are still running to her aid 7 days a week, nothing is going to change.

I have had to have MANY talks with mother, telling her flat out that she CANNOT talk to me in rude, mean ways. She is NOT allowed to "talk trash" about the inlaws or one of the kids. Period. I have done this and walked out the door. Yes, cried the whole way home over my own inability to stay calm with her--but for the sake of my family and my own sanity, I cannot spend much time with her.

I suggest you simply tell her that you love her, but you will not be coming to her new place everyday and micromanaging her life. She is a big girl and she made the decision to move and it was a good one. She can SAY whatever she likes, it probably garners attention (and I am sure she has a lot of fellow residents who also say their kids "kicked them out")...and let her be angry, mean, whatever.

Can you take a week off? Seriously--take a big break from her, Take control of the relationship. When mother gets "that way" I say "Gotta go" and I RUN home.

Antidepressants may help. But mostly getting away from the person who is causing you to feel cruddy is best. You can't say anything on this board we haven't already heard.
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Definitely go to therapy to relieve yourself of some of the guilt. Stop going over there everyday unless you actually want to go. I felt the same way as you, but have been going to therapy for the past 8 months. After treatment, I finally am feeling not guilty doing things like going to work, watching tv and sleeping. :)
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Remember that mom + hubby + kids[2?] + you = 5 people but she was taking more than 1/5 of the energy in your household so STOP FEELING GUILTY - you did that best you could & after you were burnt out none of family came forward with offer to take her in - why feel bad about something she did? - life has enough burdens so don't shoulder hers too - you did good by her so start having a life & maybe cut back visits to 3 times a week
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Terra, I doubt that I can add anything to the wonderful responses given above. I would just say that our elders reach a point in life where they will never be happy again. Not like they were 10 or 20 years before. So, to reiterate. Get counseling for your own depression. Leave the guilt behind and Let Mom be her own company for awhile. A week? Take Care of you!!! God Bless You and Your family.!
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Dear Terra,
Please don't feel guilty ( it's a normal caregiver response once you finally realize the person you love can no longer love back, and it's neither your Mom's fault, yours or your siblings)- it just IS what it is. I know this because I am 63 years old and have been my husband's caregiver ( and wife of 39 years) for 4 1/2 years with absolutely no family help! He had a stroke and was paralyzed and I waited on him hand and foot, even thou he was never a loving husband or father. Now he has had another stroke and three grand mal seizures. I have been home bound with him for most of this time and due to the overwhelming stress, I have developed 13 active conditions of my own. I had only one before, Hashimotos Thyroiditis, but now have Dermatomyositis, 2 other autoimmune diseases, anemia, heart failure , etc, etc. I was an active person, but with my sole job of taking care of my husband's every need, I have lost myself and have become depressed. I cannot sleep, hence the sleep meds that I am addicted to and my doctor wants to put me on antidepressants which will only compound the problem with another addiction. So please do not take an antidepressant! You have done the right thing and are still being loving to your mother. I understand how you both feel and how hard it's also been on her. It's difficult to stay positive, when life suddenly changes you out of the blue so horribly by physical illness or mental illness.
I am becoming angry myself, so I have my husband on a waiting list for a Nursing Home. Do I feel guilty, yes! But I deserve a life too and be able to enjoy my grandkids. So stay happy, positive, enjoy your family, and don't cloud your mind and emotions with antidepressant! They are so hard to get off of!
You are and have been a good daughter!
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See a therapist and ask your doctor for an antidepressant.
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You are not the person who has the problem. Your mother is. And by the sound of it the roots of the current problem are organic disease: I assume this has been recognised and she's being appropriately treated?

You have done the most important thing and got her out of your home and into a safe place. Well done. What would have developed if you hadn't done that just doesn't bear thinking about.

Believe me, I do sympathise with your mother. She is a very unhappy person, and her engulfing unhappiness has alienated all but one of the people who should - and in their own self-preserving way probably still do - love and care about her. That is very sad.

But is it your doing? Is it something you can change? No. Be sad for your mother, do what you can for her, but for heaven's sake put yourself and your family first and recognise the limits of what's reasonable. You have to accept what you cannot help.

Oh - and stop resenting the other family members. If there's a particular thing you'd like them to do, ask them to do it and accept their choice - you've every right to ask for help, they've every right to decline if they don't want to be involved. Don't make yourself heartsore about another thing you can't help.
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Terra, in addition to what CD has written, i want you to consider the fact that your mom is mentally ill, beyond having depression.

No one should be subjected to verbal abuse in their home. You did the right thing for your family and for yourself.

Is your mother being followed by a psychiatrst?
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Dear Terra,

From everything you are saying, you are the most loving, kind hearted and thoughtful daughter. It is hard caring for a parent. You did the best you could, you had so much on your plate. We all want to be super woman but it takes a toll.

The children and husband are important too. You only put your mom into assisted living to give her better care. There are so many raw emotions on both sides. I know its easier said than done, but I would back away for a little bit. Even one week or one month where maybe you don't see her and let her adjust to her surroundings.

I would have her doctor review her medications. I don't know if the meds are affecting her behaviour as well.

Please know you have to take care of yourself as well. You've given a lot of time to your mom. More than anyone else. And you did it while having a family to care for as well. If you want to consider talking to a counselor, joining a support group, to learn more about setting boundaries.

I grew up trying to please everyone. I tried to care for my dad after his stroke but I failed to realize how the anger and resentment was choking me. I tried to do what he wanted and in the end, that was a fatal mistake too. I couldn't win. I'm glad you recognized you had enough. Its not selfish at all to recognize we cannot give selflessly anymore.

Thinking of you. Please know you are not alone.
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