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My 82 yo mom who insists on living alone 30 miles from me is acting out because I’m going to visit my daughter in CA for Turkey day. This is my only living child (her brother died 5 years ago) and I only get to visit once a year. I care for my mom in that I go to her at least twice a month and help at her home, take her shopping and out to eat. She also has a caregiver 2 x week. Mom is laying the sarcasm on thick even though I recently drove her on a five day trip to visit her family. I believe she is masking her hurt that she will be alone by this sarcasm/verbal aggression. She is real introverted, won’t reach out for community assistance, plays the victim card and only wants to be with her family. Even refuses to go to my brother’s in-laws. I have had to scale back how much she uses me because 1) I am a broke widow and 2) I’m trying to rebuild my life after the deaths of my husband and son. I have been chauffeur for her since my dad died 10 years ago and honestly I’m tired. P.S. it is not an option to take her to CA with me. She is stingy with her money and expects me to buy the plane tickets and hotel. Whereas if it’s just me I stay with my daughter.

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It sounds like your mom is a competent adult who makes choices for herself, yes?

" Oh, mom, I'm sorry that you're not happy that I'm visiting Nancy for Thanksgiving. Would you like me to arrange for you to go to the Senior Center for Turkey day, or would you prefer to order in a meal and eat alone?".

If she grouses about it, let it roll off your back. If she chooses to be miserable, you can't change that.

Is she depressed?

Dont get into the habit of paying for her. Every elder deserves the dignity of paying their own way.
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Twillie Nov 18, 2018
Yep, mom chooses to stay in her home that is falling apart but is ten minutes from my brother. She doesn’t expect much from him because he “works”. Me is a different story - I will be 60 and getting by on SS widows benefits. I try not to pay for anything except an occasional meal out cause I know she’s banking thousands in a safe deposit box. No, she will not reach out for community connection.
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If your mother is of sound mind, she doesn’t need you there or on-call 24/7. Stop exposing yourself to her sarcasm and snits. You don’t have to be her Activites Director or Travel Agent. By being at her beck and call, you have created a monster. “I’m sorry you feel that way, Mom. See you next week.” And then don’t let the door hit you on the way out.
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Twillie Nov 18, 2018
Thank you for reminding me what my therapist has tried to drill into me for years. I can do this.
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The way I handle sarcasm and guilt trips is to walk away, hang up the phone etc. This is generally after several warnings at different times that I will not listen to it. It took four years for my mother to learn and I will hang up the phone as needed and remind her that I am not going to listen to crap.

When she starts to play the victim card, say 'you have options.' and walk away.

You do not need to defend your actions. Mum, I am going to spend Turkey Day (that is what I call it too) with my daughter and granddaughter. Full stop. When she starts to get crabby walk away, hang up the phone. If you are on an outing, cut it short and return her home.

I am an introvert and I do not use it to manipulate others. This will be my 5th Christmas since a devastating divorce, I have purposely made plans, that do not depend on the actions or invitations of others each year.

Your Mum will not 'reach out for community assistance' as long as she can manipulate you into doing her bidding. My former mil was the same. After repeated calls, "I am out of milk" (I had called two days prior to see if she needed any groceries), I told her enough and handed her, for the third time, the sign up sheet for free grocery delivery. She even complained to the neighbour, who called me, to say she was out of food. I clearly told him she could drink her tea black for once and she had the option of grocery delivery. She has been using it for 10+ years and loves it.
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Twillie Nov 18, 2018
Yes she puts all the burden on me. Told me her oven went out so “I guess I won’t have any dinner.” My husband used to take care of her home but he died.
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100% go and be with your daughter. One thing I’m learning is our health and feeling don’t matter to our elder parents.
Its easier for me to say this to you, I’m on here trying to feel better about my decisions. But you did to go.
Im so sorry about your losses. I understand loss.
God Bless you and please enjoy the holiday.
❤️
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You should not feel that she has to be included in your trip. You are entitled to time with your daughter without having to share it. Set your boundaries now. If not, you will be regretting it as she ages and demands more of you and your time.
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JoAnn29 Nov 20, 2018
I agree, go and enjoy being with your family. Mom was given an invite that she refused,
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I’m in San Diego now. Had a lovely turkey day and called mom. She was alone but didn’t seem near as cool to me. Maybe she’s getting it. Also she got some attention from my brother so that made her day.
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JoAnn29 Dec 1, 2018
Great, keep us posted.
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Oh crumbs.

How DO you handle someone who is being completely unreasonable?

If your mother were only trying your patience, it would be comparatively simple. "The alternatives are that I don't visit my only child - that would be a no - or that you come too - and the bill for that would be $xxx, fine, let's see your money."

But she isn't. She's pressing your guilt buttons.

Even that would be fine if the buttons weren't working. Are they working? Are you feeling primarily annoyed, or sad?
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Twillie Nov 18, 2018
I’m feeling primarily annoyed. Her sarcasm is hurtful and she knows what she’s doing - punishing me - I recognize it easily.
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Oh wait a moment mom while I go pack a bag, looks like I'm going on a guilt trip!

Guilt implies you did something wrong and going to spend time with your daughter can not be stretched in any way, shape or form to be wrong.

You can do this, use your flight time to figure out your boundaries, write them down and start enforcing them.

You are not responsible by any law to pay for your mom to have a vacation.

Take care of you and have a happy Turkey day! (the way she's acting she could be the main course ;-)
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Live your life for you. You deserve some happiness. She sounds selfish and I know aging is difficult but there is only so much one can do for parents. As I continually read stories here I tell myself I will never burden my children as I age.
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On a tangent, I’d like for you to mull over establishing a new financial boundary with your mom for 2019.

Your time has a value. And mom can compensate you for this by paying you a set small sum for your oversight services you do for her. She’s paying 2x week caregiver. So she knows “help” has a price.

Honey, you’ve found yourself in the young widow in financial insecurity zone. If your kinda managing ok on the SS surviving spouse benefit, any emergency situation could make your situation dire. Your doing a part time job for your mom. Really go thru the calendar, receipts, to see how much “mom” time your putting in. If she has the $ - which is sounds like she sure does - she should be paying you like $15 hr for 10-15 hrs per week. All done above board, with taxes, etc. It will build up into you SS and will matter over time to have added into it. You want paperwork done by elder law atty & make sure the $ is below the income threshold for SS so you don’t get dunned by SS for too much income. It’s not a caregiver agreement but a personal services contract.

You tell mom that your going to need to get a part part time job to make ends meet so this will mean you go and work at a shop in the mall so no longer available to do & be on call for her OR she pays you the equivalent. She’ll fume and ignore that this could be real. So you play it out..... Right now everybody is Looking for Holiday help, so stop at TJMaxx, ULTa, the ubiquitous Bath & Body Works, wherever and get a raft of applications. Next mom visit, take one out and start to fill it out and repeat your needing income & giving her a scenario to start running thru her mind. Visit after that take a couple more out and fill out. It will sink in, and you get her to do a smallish personal services agreement with you. If she’s really stubborn, you get the holiday job & it could be good for you to do this anyways. Your brother isn’t going to cater to her and likely will be over her “I need” within days.

Btw really it seems everybody this year is looking for holiday help. I as a customer got hit on at Ulta, Sephora & even frickin Blue Mercury to work a few hrs. Have never ever had this happen before, the stores are kinda desperate as the younger employees quit overnight for .25 cents an hr more, the mom’s aren’t dependable for holiday schedules. But the 50&60 yr old women, well we will show up & pass a drug test.
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