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It seems like it can be a hobby at times for mom to worry, sort of like a past time. Is it boredom? Is it the are looking for validation from others? What the hell is is about?


It’s so annoying! I suppose because I am the opposite. I am pretty much the type to put off going to the doctor for myself because I don’t like it. Smart? Nope, not smart but I go so much with mom that I hate it! Then, I end up in the hospital.


Anyway, home health just left. I swear I think she gets annoyed if they tell her she is improving. She loves to have something to talk about, worry about and it drives me crazy sometimes.


She has a simple cyst on her hip. She wants to know if it’s cancer, yada, yada, yada...


Then the nurse said, “No, it’s a common cyst. Just have your primary care doc look at it and they may recommend a dermatologist.” She responds, “What if insurance won’t pay?” I am so sick of her always expecting the worst. It’s exhausting.


I wish I could say it was ‘an old person’ thing but my parents have always been that way. I had to deprogram myself not to be like them. What causes this type of anxiety for people to deal with being anxious all of their lives?


Do any of you have parents that just love to be worrying about something? If I say to her, “Mom, go ahead worry yourself sick but I am not joining you or worrying isn’t good for my blood pressure.” It doesn’t matter what I say to her. She just won’t stop. Yes, I ignore what I can but it’s still aggravating.


Not only that, I have to be present at doctor’s appointments, home health visits because if not she will exaggerate things and I have to call her out on it. Plus even with hearing aid she says she can’t hear everything.


I am going to my caregiver support meeting this evening. Hahaha, at least I will get to hear about other people’s parents too! I am not alone in this crap. Sorry for the rant.

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At least my mom isn’t the only one with anxiety issues! Barb, can we get them all on meds? Hahaha
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I have a degree of anxiety all the time--it's awful. I have to keep it under control for DHs sake :) and of course, my own.

I have a mother who is climbing the walls with worries and a MIL that actually just makes up stuff to worry about. She has worried incessantly about a mouse getting in her house--to the point she asked me to get a 25 lb BAG of D-CON and sprinkle it around the perimeter of her yard to 'frighten the mice away'. I got such a good laugh out of that. I would have been kinder, but she knew we got mice on the reg since we lived in a 'pasture' for years before the area was developed and the kids were always leaving the doors open and so mice got in. It was a 1 out of 10 on the worry scale, but she is petrified of mice.

Mother worries about things that cannot happen, are not going to happen and if they DO, we'll deal with it.

I think it is the 'us vs them' mentality I see in so many 75+ people, Not all, of course, but the anxiety about a world they don't 'get'.

Mother medicated for anxiety for 50 years. MIL says she doesn't take anything, but I know for fact she does. Doesn't seem to help.
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My mother worried about everything, but particularly her own health. She had a sore left thumb and was convinced she was having heart attacks because "when your left arm hurts" it's a warning signal. She insisted on going to the cardiologist and nothing he or I said gave her comfort. Then I found an article online about "thumb arthritis" and printed it out for her to read. After she read it, she never mentioned the problem again. Seeing it in print somehow persuaded her in a way hearing someone say something never did. Thereafter, whenever possible, I found written material to put her mind at ease about problems she imagined she had.
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NeedHelpWithMom Aug 8, 2019
Could try that...if she will read it. Says her eyes are failing her. My godmother’s eyes were truly failing her, macular degeneration but mom doesn’t have that or glaucoma.

Glad it worked for your mom!
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Hoo boy do I know where you're coming from. My grandmother was the most fearful, nervous, anxious person I've ever known. I don't know what made her like that, but I think a lot was due to wonky brain chemistry. Everything was a crisis. It was so stressful to drive her places because every two seconds was "Look out for that car! Watch out in the intersections!". Once we had a family caravan that went to a restaurant about 30 miles away. Our car was in front, family in two cars just behind. On the way back, an ambulance and fire truck passed by us on other side of road. Grandmother immediately: "Oh no!!! Are those for our family?! Oh I hope that isn't for the others just behind us!". As if they would have had an accident, called it in and emergency vehicles arrived in nanoseconds without us seeing it in rear view?

Much as we loved her, it was exhausting to be around her.

She's been gone a few years now (lived to 92) and I wondered if this fear was a generational thing too. Then I realized that wasn't it... not treating it was! Both family and doctors would suggest meds, something low dose, to just take the edge off, but she immediately said "NO! I don't want to!". She felt it was weakness and was scared one pill would make her a permanent zombie. That only truly crazy people locked in mental wards were the ones who took meds. And that likely was the case as she was coming up and into adulthood. You couldn't convince her things had changed in mental health.

I hate how she could have gotten some relief, some peace, and never did. She suffered so much when she didn't have to.

No amount of reassurance or reasoning worked with her, even with her not having dementia. She'd been like that her whole life and refused help, so we just had to shrug it off. She'd rattle off a bad scenario and we'd reply with "Nah, it's fine." It seemed to help a little when she saw we weren't scared or worried. If we showed any fear or concern she'd pick up on it and go into anxiety overdrive. Best way to react is NOT to react!
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NeedHelpWithMom Aug 8, 2019
Loopy,

So interesting isn’t it? My grandma (mom’s mom) was NOT like that. So she didn’t pick up the behavior from her. My husband’s grandma was a nervous wreck all of the time. Very similar to your grandma!

In the car with her was an experience too. Once on a hot, steamy day in New Orleans it had been raining. Well, the rain created steam on the paved street when the sun came back out.

She exclaimed, “Stop the car, honey! The road is on fire! Look at the smoke!” OMG! I had to tell her that is was only steam coming off of the pavement. Crazy, huh?

You’re right. I have to learn to get a grip! Hahaha
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Barb,

You have knowledge in this area. Tell me how I need to process this emotionally or do I need meds? Hahaha

Reminds me of a time I was having surgery. They had a psych patient that was transferred from a mental institution to the hospital where I was. She needed some type of medical treatment. She did not want to be there and kept escaping to my room!

I was in my 40’s and I had a bad bicycle accident. Steel rods and so forth. I was in a lot of pain and miserable.

She did not speak English. Her own mother walked out on her. The nurse who always works doubles took a vacation after being with this patient. She kept leaving her room and walked across the hall straight to my room.

This mental patient was angry! I was very uneasy being around her. I was hooked up to an IV. I couldn’t get out of the bed to run, hahaha. All I could do is push the button for the nurse.

The poor nurse looked wiped out. I felt so badly for her. I asked her to please medicate the psych patient so I could try to get some sleep.

I will never forget what she told me, she said, “Honey, I have given her a dosage that would kill you and me. She shouldn’t even be on this floor in the general population but somehow that is where she was placed and they asked me to work a double which I always do, but not this time. In fact, I’m taking a vacation day and going away for a long weekend!” I then told her to drug me! Hahaha. She had a sense of humor and laughed.

The next day my mom, dad, husband and kids came to see me. They asked why me why did I look like I didn’t sleep a wink. I hadn’t slept! My mom kept saying, “You don’t look comfy. I will fluff your pillow. I will adjust your bed for you.” She meant well but I was hurting and had just found a position that I was comfortable in and she screwed it up. So, I quietly asked my dad to ask her to stop pushing the buttons on my bed! Hahaha. My dad got her to stop.

My doctor came in and said that I looked awful. I explained. He said that they should have called him so he could have given orders for me to me moved to another room away from her.
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You know what I think is bothering me too? I start to feel guilty when I make certain comments like, “Mom, grandma never lived with you. She didn’t have Parkinson’s. She had no major health issues. She drove her car until she died. She was a strong, independent woman who didn’t worry about everything like you do and just died of old age, end of story. You didn’t go through with grandma what I go through with you.” I guess that wasn’t a nice thing to say to her and I am sorry about telling her stuff like that.

I don’t mean to say things like that but it comes out when I get frustrated with what I am dealing with. Especially when I know that I do all that I possibly can to care for her as best that I can.

I can’t quite figure out if I feel like I have failed her or myself? Does that make sense to anyone? Or am I just loosing it and need to get a grip? Just feel overwhelmed at times. I also can’t help but thinking at almost 94 years old she may die soon and I feel like I should do my very best but it’s exhausting, both emotionally and physically.

I do feel better when I get a break occasionally, but my breaks are for my doctor appointments. That isn’t a ‘real break.’

I need a break for other things like seeing my friends in person rather than just chatting with them on the phone. When a friend occasionally comes over to my house, they talk to her to be polite and I get that but I would like to be able to see them without mom sometimes too, go out to eat or a movie, anything, just a walk around town. It’s been a long time since I have done anything like that.
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cherokeegrrl54 Aug 8, 2019
After reading all the posts, I’m wondering if it’s their generation....
like you I get so aggravated at my mom I want to scream......she’s a worrywart too, over what I consider silly things.....I ask her all the time, if it’s something she has no control over, or doesn’t affect her, why are you so worried about it....I spent years wondering why I was so anxious and worried about something that “ might” happen.....well guess what???? I’ve finally figured it out! It’s her!,, so I no longer worry about crap I have no control over.....it drives my mom nuts.....I just do not care any more.....I moved to the same apartment complex as my mom, a year ago because my daughter, who I lived with, moved out of the country for 3 yrs for her job....just didn’t want to be halfway around the world and something happen to her....sometimes I wish I just woulda went on to Germany with my daughter....it does get overwhelming at times.....I just go to my apartment or go out to the pool with my friends and relax for a while.....I sure hope you get some time away, even just a short while out with your friends....you are certainly in my thoughts!!
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My DH calls it ADATT..........All Drama All The Time. If mother didn't have drama, why, she'd need to invent some, of course. It's no fun to tell the truth. Everything MUST be exaggerated. 'That fat dentist came into my room today and took A MILLION XRAYS. God knows HOW much they'll screw us out of for THAT.' She worries about everything.

When I was a child, she'd lock my window even in the summer (without air conditioning) because otherwise a murderer would come in thru the screen and kill me. Why couldn't he come in thru the window if he wanted to kill me so badly, I wonder, or break down the front door?

Dad used to excuse all her hideous behavior by saying, "Your mother is nervous." Nervous about WHAT, I'd ask? Oh yeah, boogie men and axe murderers, I forgot.

After her visit to see me on my wedding day 10 years ago and on her way to the airport (thank you Jesus), all she could say over and over again was, "Make sure you lock the front door tonight and the sliders downstairs....you are very lax about that which is DANGEROUS." She couldn't say she had a wonderful time or the wedding was beautiful, nope, there were too many important things to worry about, no time for niceties! Remember murderers and boogie men and things that go bump in the night!!!!

Nowadays with dementia, all she worries about is money. She's never paid a bill in her life, never written a check, never had a budget, nothing, thanks to Dad keeping her in a childlike state. I am in charge of all her finances, and everything else, too, yet she's ranting to everyone about how she needs someone to give her an old wheelchair from someone who died because she can't afford a new one. Nope. We sure can't mom. $6400 per MONTH for your memory care rent but we can't afford a $200 wheelchair. Or xrays from the fat dentist who has Some Nerve.

Your mother worrying about insurance not paying for a doctor visit.......the doctor visits they've BEEN paying for over the past 23 years you've had Medicare, you mean? Sigh.

It's what they DO. It's what they've done their whole lives and what they'll continue to do until the day they die. With my mother, it's a cup of undiagnosed mental illness mixed with a half cup of narcissistic personality disorder combined with a quarter cup of anxiety/panic disorder which is a recipe for disaster!

I try, usually unsuccessfully, to let all the BS go in one ear and out the other. Or when that doesn't work, try earplugs!
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NeedHelpWithMom Aug 8, 2019
Yes! Exactly! If there isn’t something to worry about then, they look for something. It’s crazy. My husband hates it and feels sorry for her up to a point but thinks it’s ridiculous.

You know, I picked up on that when I was younger. It’s contagious. I worked really hard to deprogram myself and did. When mom moved in with me, the crap started in my home and threw me for a loop!

It’s amazing to me how many people suffer with anxiety. I’m not saying anxieties aren’t warranted for real circumstances. They are. Like when my kid totaled my car as a teenager and I saw her covered in blood. Or my asthma attacks, lots of real issues but not foolishness. That I can’t handle. Just bugs me.

I will try these suggestions though instead of getting annoyed and blowing a rod! Hahaha, because clearly that is not helping at all. Wish me luck, say a prayer, send good thoughts my way, please...
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My former mil is a worry wort and my Dad is a hypochondriac.

When my kids were little she would say, "Aren't you worried about ...?" Or "I would be nervous about ...!" I just told her I wasn't concerned and carried on. She never let her kids have a sleep over or have a friend over for a sleep over. She taught my ex to be afraid of dogs instead of teaching him how to approach dogs.

Her worrying and her complaints about her ex husband (divorced in 1984) plus they both remarried and he left the country, are legendary and cause people to avoid her like the plague.

Need, you could back off and stop getting swept up in her worries. You can write a letter to her doctor expressing your concerns, you do not need to do it in front of her.

With the cyst, do not speculate with her on the cause, remind her once what the nurse said and make the follow up appointment as suggested. If she continues, remind her she has to die of something, and at her age it is not likely to be cancer.

Dad is limited his activities due to his hypochondria and it is sad. He is also terrified of falling and because of that has stopped walking as much as he was a year ago. Of course he is losing strength in his legs and is at a greater fall risk.

I did buy him a second hand foldable walker. He uses a cane, but the ground is very rough at the summer place, and he will be better supported if he uses the walker. We will see if he does.
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NeedHelpWithMom Aug 8, 2019
Yes, I can tell from what all of you are saying that I am feeding into her stuff. I’ve got to stop it. I should say things only once, as you say. Thanks for pointing that out to me. Thanks to everyone, actually. All of you can’t be wrong. It’s me. I think because it’s been going on for so long. 14 years is a long time. I have to get out at least one day a week.
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NHWM, so, with regard to the doctor, email him or type a note before the appointment. "My mom's obsessive worry and chronic anxiety are making it hard to care for her. Can you suggest any meds, techniques or treatments that will help? Would a referral to a geriatric psychiatrist be in order? ".

For my mom, if the doctor told her to take meds, and why, she did it. I called her geriatrics doc and the geripsych all the time to talk about mom's issues.

Second, when mom talks about her worries, try saying "that may well happen", " I suppose that's possible", or "yes, I can see that that might be a cause for concern".

Validate her perception. It's the feeling of "no one else is worrying about this, I'd better" that drives some folks' anxiety.
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NeedHelpWithMom Aug 7, 2019
Barb,

Okay, I see what you’re saying. I do end up annoying myself by getting agitated by her worrying.

I could try that with the doctor. Her doctor has offered meds to her. But I haven’t tried the email. I have only mentioned her anxiety at the office with her present. She politely refuses, then I silently cringe. I hate to see her getting so worked up. It’s not that I don’t have empathy or compassion. I guess I feel like enough is enough and I admit I let it get to me.

Your advice makes sense though, because I can see now that I could possibly be feeding into her actions by reacting the way I have, which clearly isn’t working all that well. I get annoyed, then she gets annoyed at me for being annoyed, she’s thinking that I don’t care. I will try as you suggest.

She even tries to tell me what I should worry about with my life, my daughters, or whatever else she can think of. I don’t bite and tell her no I am not going to worry about everything like that, her response is that I should be worried. Geeeez!

She worries about crazy stuff. If Bernie, my daughter’s poodle starts crying when she leaves him. He cries for two minutes then sits in my lap and is fine. She says that my daughter shouldn’t leave the dog!

That’s nuts. I tell her, “Mom, do you think Bernie goes to class with her? Mom, didn’t you leave Henry, our dog? You didn’t stay with Henry all the time!” Those are the comments that drive me crazy.

Then she told me that Bernie is old like her. Hahaha, they are both seniors!
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Your comment about your mom not wanting to take anxiety meds reminded me of the struggle we had with my mom not wanting to. My sister told my mom that one of them had to take something because my mom made my sister so nervous. Sister went on to say she thought it should be my mom who took something because it was her fault meds were needed. My mom just laughed.
In the end she would elect to take a half or a whole tablet depending on how much she dreaded whatever was coming up. Family party was a whole pill. She knew she made us nervous so she tried to cooperate by taking the tablet.
once she was in rehab and thought my sister shouldn’t come see her. “Too far,” she said.
I said “well you made it mom. I think she can.”
”well, I’m stronger than she is” she would say. She probably was.
See if she will take CBD oil. It helps with anxiety. You take it too. My cousin gives it to her mom with Parkinson’s. It really helps her.
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lealonnie1 Aug 7, 2019
Smoking a joint is even better than cbd oil, especially for the Nervous types........REALLY give em sumpthin to BE nervous about huh? Better yet, how bout WE smoke one? Lol
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Yup. That would be me. I can carry out the "what ifs" all the way to "What if the hot water heater is about to explode. Or leak". Someone recently said to me "You can carry worry all the way out to that" and I said "Oh, yeah. Easily." Basically, I think, it is kind of a genetic you worry or you don't. You try to get things in order or you don't. You like things neat or you thrive on not a lot of order. We are all different. The problem here is that you two are around one another too much. Give one another a break. If it is 24/7 you have to BE THERE, then you are sunk. It will only get worse. Is there anything you can have her do that is a zen. For me it is the garden. But I have seen some elders with dementia find great relief in folding washclothes.
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NeedHelpWithMom Aug 7, 2019
You’re right, Alva. Too much togetherness isn’t good. Certainly not for me, maybe not for her either. Even if she gets a few digs in when I return. So what...

Thanks for pointing this out to me. I needed to hear it.
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You know what? Maybe I am contributing to her worrying by always being here. Maybe I should hire someone for at least one day a week to get out.

I don’t care where! I would be happy just to sit under an oak tree in the park. That actually sounds lovely, with a book that I could read more than one paragraph at the time!

The social worker at the caregiver group said she most likely wouldn’t show excessive worry with others as much as me. Even if she did, I guess they would know how to handle it. Do they?
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dontgetthechees Aug 8, 2019
My father, who bitches about everything to me will turn on a dime with someone he barely knows. Gets all happy, etc.

The other day I decided not to come by for lunch on our regular day. He threw a fit.

He's also a self-described "worry wart".

It's not abuse in the sense that they aren't intentionally trying to hurt us, I don't think, it's just that for whatever reason, they feel like they should be able to just drop all their bleep on top of us.

It's also, not exactly, respect, either.

I guess I don't really know what it is. It's probably different in each case.

I would encourage you to draw a line and take some time away. Caregiving did a helluva number on me and I had it pretty easy, relatively speaking to some here. Yet, I find myself struggling to cope, at times, with my father who is still, more or less, independent.

It's just not an easy job and it can wreck you if you aren't careful.

On rereading, I'm a man of one sentence paragraph's today", but I saw a later post you made about meds and decided to fix that.

Same thing with my fathe.. He won't consider meds for his mental health, even if it would wipe the anxiety away. And at the doctor's office, I'm sure, magically, if I were to go with him, the world would be rainbows and sunny skies.

Such is the nature of anxiety.
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For some, young or old, worrying becomes a habit, habits are very hard to break. The only way to change a habit is to replace it with something else, So, is there anything else that she likes to do? I come from a very negative family, it also drives me bat sheet crazy, as I am a positive person and I roll with life, so I do understand. Rant away!
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NeedHelpWithMom Aug 7, 2019
Thanks Dolly,

She watches Young and the Restless! Hahaha. That’s about it! She will be 94 in November. I wish she would go to the senior center for lunch. Her only outings are her doctor’s appointments.

I feel so isolated. I just got back home from my caregiver support group in my area. I dog sat my daughter’s poodle for her today so she stayed with my mom for me to go to my group.

My daughter isn’t around much. Drove in today but she’s away at her apartment while attending college.

Light crowd in the summertime at the caregiver group. Was only two other women and the social worker who leads the group. The other women tonight were a lot older than me who were taking care of their husbands. I was the only one caring for a parent.

The topic was mainly about ALZ. Their husbands have ALZ. It was interesting. I couldn’t relate to it. Mom doesn’t have ALZ.

Another topic was guilt. They felt guilt over needing a break. One husband and wife live together in AL. The other wife felt guilty because she is living in AL and her husband now has to be in a NH. The group meets in the ALF where they live.

When I said about my mom worrying one of the women said that mom couldn’t help it. Well, maybe not but it’s hard for me to live with. I get sick of reassuring her constantly. It’s exhausting!

When I say to her that I am not going to excessively worry I think she feels like I don’t care. I do care deeply for her but I just don’t see any advantages to chronic worry.
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Can someone suggest how to bring this topic up with her doctor without upsetting mom? I do have medical power of attorney. Can I arrange to meet her doctor without her being present? What should I do?
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My FIL worries about everything. He's always been tightly wound but he's not compliant with his medications for his depression and anxiety. He doesn't want to get better and so I don't get involved in most things anymore because it's not a real problem.

"I have to be present at doctor’s appointments, home health visits because if not she will exaggerate things and I have to call her out on it. Plus even with hearing aid she says she can’t hear everything."

In my opinion, you do not need to be present for everything. Professionals are used to old people exaggerating things. And so what? She exaggerates and then the professionals will prescribe XY&Z and she won't comply (or she will) and then the professionals will deal with her accordingly. If she can't hear, they will write things down for her.
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NeedHelpWithMom Aug 7, 2019
I wish it were that simple with her NY. I tried to write things down too and she tosses it aside saying that she can’t read it because her eyes are tired. Or that Parkinson’s is effecting her eyes. She tends to blame Parkinson’s for everything. Yes, it’s a tough disease but it isn’t to blame for everything. Guess I am having a rough day.

Home health has asked me to be present so they can give me instructions for her care but I guess I could ask them to call or text me at a separate time.

Thanks for responding, I’ll try to back off some.
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Anxiety is a treatable condition.

Have your mother seen by a geriatric psychiatrist.

For my mom, being overly anxious was a symptom of cognitive decline. Her regular MD was throwing benzos at her, which wasn't helping.

Her geriatric doc sent her to a geripsych who sent her for a cognitive evaluation . She was placed on better meds (an antidepressant and a regularly scheduled, very low dose of a benzo to "get ahead" of the anxiety.

The difference was quite startling. Her dread and fear, which had been paralyzing, were gone.
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NeedHelpWithMom Aug 7, 2019
She won’t consider meds. Says she doesn’t want to take them but her worrying about every little thing gets to me. I’ve suggested it to her but how can I get her to consider it? I’m at a loss. Meanwhile, I am going bonkers. Know what I mean? It sounds rude, but sometimes I just walk away. Even telling her that I have something on the stove, just to get a break from it.

The three weeks she was in the rehab facility was a nice break! Hate to say that but it was. I know it was tough on her. They worked her hard but I got a break from her chronic worry.

I think her generation is afraid of the meds. My dad had really bad anxiety and he refused meds. Believe me, he could have used them at times.
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I guess if she's always been this way, you need to find a way to not engage, not react, and stop wasting your precious energy on getting annoyed by it. I would find it soooo annoying too, but I'm sure you've heard that saying something like we can't control others, we can only control our reaction to them?

Think of a neutral canned response you can give every time she says one of her ridiculously worrisome things. Or have a few so you don't bore yourself half to death.

Hmm, I don't know mom. Hard to know what's going to happen.

Hmm, I don't know mom. Could be?? Might happen.

Then drop the subject. Try to change the subject.

Walk away when you need to. Use the bathroom. Look for something in your car.

Believe me, some things my mom says are total triggers for me too. I should take my own advice!!!
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NeedHelpWithMom Aug 7, 2019
I have tried changing the subject. She finds her way back to the same topic. Do you think it’s becoming a power struggle between us? Or that I am stressing too much? 14 years of this is too much!
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Oh yes.. we recently had a death in the family many states away, and my mom is fixated on "what is going to happen to the dog".. A son took the dog in,, but Mom will not be satisfied until I email 6 relatives to find out! I cannot redirect her..
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NeedHelpWithMom Aug 7, 2019
Pam,

Yes! That is how it goes. I need an answer to this before I go batty. I don’t want to be a grouch! I just want to be at peace and I find myself getting irritable.
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