How to handle an elderly mentally ill parent whose health is declining?
Following my brother's death last month, I reconciled with my estranged 80-year-old mother who had been abusive when I was a child. She suffered from borderline personality disorder, and I couldn't cope with her abuse and manipulation, and so I walked away 18 years ago.
My mother always made me feel diminutive, as if I don't matter, a nothing. Her whole world revolved around my brothers, both of whom also suffered from mental illness.
Understanding that this abuse was due to mental illness, I've forgiven her, and I feel obligated to be there for her at the end of her life. But it's very confusing, painful, and stressful for me. I'm not sure what role I'm supposed to play. I fear that it will be beyond my ability to care for her and that no matter what I do, it won't be enough. I'm also afraid it will hurt my marriage.
My brother who likely suffers from Aspergers can't be counted on to help.
I talked to my mother on the phone last night and came away upset as all she did was talk about herself--she has always done this. Since the reconciliation, she has asked very little about me or my life. She could care less about my three adult sons. Self-absorbed, she interrupts and redirects the conversation back to her if I try to get a word in. No one has ever had anything worse than her. And she's so dramatic.
My husband hates my mother and feels she's toxic to me and wants me to limit my contact with her. His disapproval is also stressful.
And limiting my contact is easier said than done as I'm worried about her. She has significantly declined physically, and is living in a filthy apartment piled high with junk. She and her husband are hoarders and have a rental house, an apartment, and many storage units all around town full of junk.
I feel that she can no longer take care of herself. And my stepfather, who has no children of his own, is also 80, and has stage four prostate cancer. They don't have a penny to their name and are living on social security.
Needless to say, I worry that they will become a major burden to me in every way imaginable soon, and I don't know how to handle it. But I'm all they have.
I'm not well myself. I can't drive as I'm legally blind, and I have a lot of health issues, including COPD. I get tired very easily. I was looking into assisted living for them, but I can't afford that and neither can they.
I think that if I had to move them into my home that I'd go completely loony.
I would really appreciate any suggestions about how to handle this situation.
Thanks in advance.