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I am struggling with care issues regarding my mother. My mom has always had a very abrasive personality. She had a rough childhood, was in an abusive relationship with my father, and raised me a single parent.
Over the years she and I have had our differences. We do not have a lot in common, and quite honestly being around her for any length of time is exhausting for me. My perception is that my mom has always craved attention, so she courts drama. If the drama does not exist she creates the drama.
In 2013 she was in a car accident. She lives in another state, so I was called at work shortly after the highway patrol found her. Doctors diagnosed her as having a mini stroke. She was also diagnosed by a psychiatrist as having bipolar disorder. I spent two weeks with her after she had the mini stroke and I was subjected to some of the most abusive, bullying behavior I have ever encountered. It was as if I was a 10 year old kid all over again. We had several arguments and I found myself feeling trapped and wanting to get away from her as quickly as I could.
Since that time, I have received calls from her neighbors that she is not doing well. She is forgetful, combative, and insists to everyone that she is fine. I have written her doctor several times, I have also filed cases with APS three times. APS has informed me after each visit that she appears fine. She is clean, can answer questions, and appears to be well. I even called an attorney to find out what else I could be or should be doing. The attorney told me that I cannot really do anything unless she is committed to a nursing home or other care facility as a result of doctor's orders or APS recommendation.
I am ashamed to say this, but I do not like my mom, but I feel obligated to try and help her. It is a lifetime of dealing with her that has left me not wanting to help. I do not want to be sucked into the drama and the verbal abuse. I also feel like her neighbors expect me to do something, but based on the law, I cannot do anything. I have no desire to see her and when I do have to speak with her I feel like I am getting ready to jump of a cliff.
The shame I have for how I feel toward my mom is palpable. I have been seeing a therapist and I am now taking medication to try and control anxiety and panic attacks that I have suffered from since returning from my visit.
My mom raised me as a single parent, she took care of me. I do believe her treatment of me when I was a child was psychically and emotionally abusive. However, she is still my mother. How can I turn my back on her. What is wrong with me that I do not want to help another person in need, especially my own mother.

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welcome rkello - I have an abusive/mentally ill mother too and I am a distant caregiver for her. I don't like my mother a whole lot either, and really dislike many of her behaviours, but also love her, in the sense that I want good things for her, and feel the need to help her. There are a number of us on this site. There is nothing wrong with you that you do not want to step into a situation where you will be abused again. The alternative is not necessarily to turn your back on her, though it may be. I have considered it. We each have to find our way through the maze of past hurts, present hurts, our needs, their needs and so on.

It sounds to me that you are doing what you can. You have contacted APS, you are in communication with her neighbours, you have written her doctor, were involved when she had the accident... I don't know if there is much more you can do. Many here, regardless of past treatment, have parents who are unwilling to be helped. In those cases it is a waiting game until something happens e.g. a fall causing injury, to force the issue so that the professionals evaluate and determine that this individual cannot live alone any more and requires placement into a facility. A psychologist, Pauline Boss, recommends that anyone who has been abused by a parent should not do hands-on care giving, but rather from a distance, through others who work directly with the parent. Other writers talk about low contact or no contact with an abusive parent, and if contact is maintained that it is necessary to set firm boundaries for your own protection. Support is also very important and also knowledge about the illness so that you can detach emotionally.

Please let go of the shame you feel and also any guilt. She is very fortunate that you are still willing to help. You have nothing to feel ashamed of.

I gather no one has POA or healthy care proxy for you mum. Likely, at some point, someone will need to make decisions for her. It may have to be the state. Another alternative is that you obtain guardianship when she becomes incompetent. You may or may not want to do this. I am just bringing these up for you to consider. I gather you are an only child. If, when I agreed to take on POA etc., I knew what I would have gone through last year or so, I might well not have taken it on.

It seems an immediate concern is the neighbours who call you and feel you should be doing more for your mum as she is not doing well. You have acted very responsibly, in my view, even to contacting an attorney, who told you the facts of what you can and cannot do. They are trying to be helpful, no doubt. Perhaps they can call APS with their particular concerns. Their involvement is a mixed blessing, but may be helpful in monitoring your mum's decline.

Does her doctor have any suggestions? I found things had to get worse before they got better, Mother was in an ALF and became more and more paranoid, accusing the staff etc., and then finally expressed suicidal thoughts, but refused to take meds. This is what got the professionals moving, and she is now in a geriatric psychiatric hospital, on antipsychotic meds and better than she has been in a long while. She will be discharged to a mental health facility. Last year was "annus horribilis" for me - worse than usual and I suffered PTSD from past abuse. I have the same reactions as you to spending time with her and set the boundary that I would have no contact with her unless she was taking the meds she needs. Even then, I have told the staff that my contact with her will be minimal. I live 5hrs drive away anyway. I look after her finances (she sent her stuff to me), do some shopping for her, and so on, but I don't do outings with her. They require a wheelchair and at my age -77 - I don't want to take that on. She has enough money to hire someone to go with her. I help to arrange that and whatever else is needed. It is not a perfect solution, but workable so far. I reserve the right to drop out if I need tp for my health, as it has been affected by all the stress.

In short, I understand, and I support you to look after yourself first. Pauline Boss says it well - be humane to your parent, but do yourself no further harm.

Do comeback and share more - let us know how this plays out. (((((((hugs))))))) and blessings.
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There are many people on this site who are in the same situation you are. They feel obligated to help a parent who was abusive to them in the past. Try a search of the site. In the upper right hand corner is a search box. Search "abusive parent".

While I'm not in the same situation I can understand why this would be confusing for you but really, it's understandable. Your mom was abusive to you in the past but she's still your mom. I understand why you would feel obligated to her. This doesn't make you a bad person, not in the slightest. You've been hurt by your mom in the past, maybe many times, and this could cause you to think twice before jumping into your mom's life again. You're not a bad person at all. But when we have a wound we think twice before tearing off that scab and exposing the wound again because we know that it hurts. There's no shame in considering that before getting involved again with the person who hurt us.
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I understand, completely. I am guilt ridden, too, from the treatment I've gotten from my mother all my life. She came to live with me in 2008. All the old guilt, manipulation and control descended upon me like a dark cloud. I had somewhat gotten away from it for several years and had made giant strides, but her moving back with me put me in a tailspin downward into a pit of sickening guilt, loathing and oppression. Mom is a narcissist and probably has an undiagnosed mental illness. You can't be nice enough, do enough, care enough for a person like her. I recently had her admitted into geriatric psych where they got her meds straightened out so that that she wasn't falling, completely out of it, etc. Then I got her into a rehab with the intentions of getting her into AL or memory care. At the end of rehab when the AL nurse was supposed to come and evaluate her, my sister decided she wanted her to "get to come home for a while". I told her I was done taking care of her in my home. My sister has had her for several months, now, and I've made it clear that I will not take her into my home. She is safe at my sister's, unhappy as she always is, and I've moved 1000 miles away to be close to MY kids. I have a tinge of guilt still, but it's getting a little less. We drove 1000 miles to see her last week, and she tried to manipulate the situation by pretending to be sick. We weren't paying enough attention to her, so she staged a "poor me" pity party and went to bed. This was when the real lessening of guilt started. After driving a 1000 miles, she goes to bed after begging to see me every time I talked to her over the last two months since I've seen her last. We were with her for 6 hours and though asking her to stay up because we were going back home, she pitifully shuffled off to bed and when I asked her where she was going she says, "I don't know" with snotty attitude. I refused to follow her like I used to. That was our goodbye. Very sad, but liberating. I feel sorry for my sister, though. I'm 65 and I need a life. My sister chose to take her home with her and she is going to have to figure out what to do. I had a plan. It was undone.
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It is true... you are not alone. I could have (and have!) written almost the same as you in this forum. One of the toughest things to deal with is how to separate a person's unpleasant personality from the changes that occur in aging with dementia and Alzheimer's (like the bullying). I have determined to try and make sure my Mom is safe and taken care of, but to otherwise keep my distance. As I live out of state as well, I try to support my brother who lives in her town to the utmost.
So I don't have any advice, really, but try not to let her drag you down.

Bood
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There is nothing wrong with you. You reap what you sow & she did NOT sow well. I am not in the same situation but my best friend is but thankfully she has a sister who the mother treated like she was the Madonna so the sister is the caretaker.

May I suggest, if your Mom is not willing to take her meds that you take a Valium (or whatever) before you go see her. I get along with my Mom, but sometimes...you know & even I will take a Valium before going to see her. Your health is very important. Don't lose yourself in her craziness. I don't know what you can do for her but others have great advice. I am just here to tell you to take care of YOU & YOU are not crazy for the way you are feeling.

HUGS HUGS HUGS and positive thoughts going out to you.
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As an adult, you have a responsibility to make decisions that will positively impact your life. Your mother is and has always been toxic to you. The biology of her being your mother is just that. Since APS has seen her, given her their blessings, ask the neighbors to call 911 when or if she needs help. You live in a different state and cannot help anymore. Distance yourself dear one or you will be the one who needs more help than her. Don't let anyone cause you this much pain. Your health is my primary concern. She can fend for herself. If that sounds cruel, I am hearing you say she was abusive most of your life. Don't you deserve a life free of abuse? Stop the guilty thoughts, and you will free your mind of any emotional illness. Get yourself healthy, let her live her life without you. Best wishes.
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You sound pretty strong and I know you are fighting guilt because that is what you have learned. I have very mixed feeling when I hear someone talk about turning the other cheek, or honoring thy mother and father, or doing unto others as you would have them do unto you. These are good things to consider but not always realistic in practice. I think you know what is right for you and I hope you don't let anyone else make you feel guilty. I am dealing with some of that myself but I know if I treated my mother like a queen, she would just cut off my head! Use common sense which you seem to have plenty of. Take care of yourself.
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Boy Deniece444 you certainly got yourself worked up because other posters didn't agree with you. I don't think the other posters, who used very balanced language, come off as spoiled, selfish brats. I think they're caring, thoughtful people who have a different view than you do.

Not everyone chooses to "grow" in the way you deem they should. Maybe they'll grow in other areas of their lives. Or maybe they don't learn to rise above and forgive at all. Or maybe they forgive, but choose to keep their distance for their own mental health. I can't judge them (unlike you) because I didn't grow up with an abusive mother. I wouldn't presume to know what each of them should do with 100% certainty like you. And I don't get upset and lash out with invectives when other people respectfully disagree with my point of view. I listen and learn from others. There's a lot of wisdom borne of experience on these boards. Not everyone has to agree with your viewpoint to make your viewpoint valid or their viewpoint invalid.
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Thanks to all of you for your thoughtful, caring responses. I feel so relieved to know that I am not alone, and just to know there are people who understand what I am going through means the world to me. I a going to try to do what I can, where I can, while keeping my boundaries in place.
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Rkello, all moral dilemmas aside, this is my story (quick and dirty version) - before deciding to keep contact with my mother to the absolute minimum: nothing but complaints, negativity, criticism, insults, and insinuations that I should be doing ever more to feed her endless appetite for attention, praise, and sympathy. I was a miserable and nervous wreck.
After going to minimal contact - I'm able to manage her finances without her interference, as well as her healthcare, her home care arrangements, you name it. If she needs something, I see that she gets it. Is she happy? I'm sure not - she never was. This road was not something I envisioned, but it's the one that works. So, do what works for you, and be patient and kind to yourself as you figure it all out.
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