How do I survive an abusive mother (88) who is healthier than I am?

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I was raised with parents who were verbally abusive, non supportive, loving or nurturing. My father had serious violent rage issues and was a functioning alcoholic. He passed away in 1999. My mother now 88 is clinically insane. She lives in another state and still manages to abuse, criticize, degrade, accuse and make me feel guilty for all her problems. Her only health issue is age. I am visually impaired, have diabetes and severe refractory asthma. Her estate will go bankrupt when she dies. I am estranged from my brother who is executor of her will and doesn't pay his own bills let alone hers. She has taken me totally out of her will, however her problems always seem to land in my and my husband's lap. We have spent more money on her over the years than my brother has even thought about. It is dangerous for me to be around her. Usually after we visit her I get sick and end up back in the hospital. She baits me and we have terrible fights. She has told me I don't matter, only her son does. I have two grown daughters with families whom she has managed to gain favor of over me. This started right from the cradle. I tried many times to end it with my parents and didn't as my husband lost his parents at a young age and I wanted my girls to have grandparents. I was born 2 1/2 months early in 1952 at 2 lbs 10 ounces. I am partially blind. My mother did not error on the side of caution and stay in bed. She could not handle a child who was not perfect. I am in therapy trying to learn self care and deal with my family. I have started to set boundaries with my mother and now she has ensured that most of her family no longer talk to me. My daughters also favor her. When we visit her I buy her anything she wants. Afterwards she tells me all the flaws in what I bought or repairs in her home my husband has done at our cost. I am afraid of the mess and danger to my health when she dies. I don't know what the rest of the family will do to me at her funeral or even if she has money to pay for her funeral. She still has a mortgage on her home and a leased car. If I don't attend I am afraid my two daughters will never forgive me. I also don't know what kind of trouble my brother will cause for me regarding her estate and money which she doesn't have. Nor does he. He is executor and I don't feel handling any of her estate is my problem. This woman may outlive me. She never asks about my health, my eyes, diabetes or asthma or if I have been hospitalized recently. Right now my husband does not want me to be alone with her as that is when she goes after me. She lies to my children and makes up her own reality. My children do not want to know anything about my childhood or the abuse I've suffered and still do by her. They think Grandma is just an elderly women who gets nasty due to her age and I should look the other way. I do not know how to handle this woman anymore. To me she is not my mother who happens to be elderly, but an elderly woman who happens to be my mother. Any advise from anyone in similar situations?

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Stop talking to her. Stop seeing her. Stop discussing her with family members or anyone else (except for your therapist). Remove yourself from this toxic relationship. Your mother has no right to abuse you in any manner. You are NOT obligated to subject yourself to abuse from her or anyone else. Don't go to the funeral. Don't agree to help with payment of her debts or administration of her estate. Let the other family members take care of her needs. Decide how you want to move on with your life and enjoy every moment you have.
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Chris McE,

I'm so sorry about your mother and health problems. I'd not only take a step back--I'd completely cut her off, not see or talk to or spend any time or money on her. She's already alienated your kids so you don't owe them anything. Thank goodness you have a nice husband. Screw that mean old witch.

I have a mother just like yours. I left home at 17--lived 3,000 miles away for 43 years. I visited 1 to 3 times a year until I was 44 or so, but she was so awful that I became completely estranged for 15 years. I never, ever planned to see her again but changed my mind and moved back about 18 months ago. She is even worse now--sadistic, selfish, self-centered, and arrogant, and has turned the whole family against me.

I'm going to escape for the final time, hopefully by May. I didn't have kids for fear they'd inherit the family mental stuff, and I'm single. I'll be completely starting over from scratch and don't even know where to go.

I'm the only responsible kid in our family--my sister doesn't care about anyone, not even her own kids, and my brother is alcoholic and head injured so my mother will be on her own at the age of 90 with dementia. Everyone else has died or is too old to watch out for her.

I know it's been a year since you posted your question. I hope you're taking care of yourself. How are you?
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"I do not know how to handle this woman anymore." Why handle her at all? Why are you still trying to make this relationship work after all these years of evidence that it won't work and it is Not Your Fault?

I am glad that you are in therapy. You deserve to take good care of you!
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Why participate in a relationship that is so toxic regardless of who it is? If her behavior is so bad that it affects you physically that is one person I'd stay away from.

I know families can be complicated. There are nieces and nephews, grandchildren, spouses, adult siblings, etc. But when it comes right down to it this is about your relationship with your mother. You're worried about her funeral and she hasn't even died yet!

What would be the worst thing that would happen if you took a step back? You have nothing to prove to anyone. If others in the family thinks she's the cat's meow let them think that. You know better. Your situation won't improve as long as you continue to be around her while complaining that she treats you so poorly. If that's the case, don't be around her. You have control over this. No one's forcing you to try to have a relationship with your mom. You're a grownup now. You don't have to put up with her behavior especially since she lives in another state.

I hope you can detach from her for your own health and sanity.
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If your children want to step in to care for her, or arrange care for her, that's lovely.
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Why are you still in contact with her?

What would happen to YOU if you stepped aside?

If you have an abusive mentally ill parent, you may be doing them a favor by bowing out of the picture and allowing them to become a ward of the state. In that case, she'll get the care she needs, not the care she mistakenly demands.

Your mother's mentslbillness is not your fault. Your first and most important job is to take care of you.
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