How can I handle my mother's constant nagging for my attention because she is 'lonely'?

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How can I handle my mother's constant nagging for my attention because she is 'lonely'? I myself am a mother, grandmother, work at home with medical transcription and volunteer at my grandson's school. My life is as I wish it. I had not planned on having to 'be there' for an emotionally needy elderly mother whose constant complaints of 'being lonely and depressed' are starting to make me depressed. My mother was not there for my siblings and myself growing up after I turned age 9, because she had a 'break' with sanity. She packed up the kids (five of us) and dropped us off at the juvenile shelter because she said "we were driving her crazy". This happened after she divorced our father. I and my siblings spent years in foster care and often, I felt we were scattered to the winds. My mother did not really come back into my life until I was married with a child. Then, I suppose, I would have no real need of her. Over the years, I lost three of my siblings to Huntington's Chorea and my surviving older sister, will have nothing to do with our mother for what she did to us as a family. I have tried to forgive and forget and have some sort of relationship with my mother, but it has always felt one-sided, on my part. My mother is a very cold, selfish person whose outlook on life seems to be, "what about me?". She has never tried to cultivate a relationship with my daughter, now grown, and my grandson. She seems oblivious to the fact that relationships take work. You have to earn someone's love and care. She seems to think because I am the surviving child who WILL talk to her, that I am her responsibility. She even moved closer to my home (less than one mile away) into a retirement apartment facility, in an effort to be close to me, and for, as she puts it, "in case she needs me". When I do set aside a day to spend with her, she sits there like a bump on a log and wants to be catered to, as if she is a desired guest. Her selfishness and cold nature have made all others in the family ignore her, and it has gotten worse over the years, where no one wants to be with her, as there are no redeeming qualities in her, as a human being. My sister and daughter are amazed that I would want anything to do with her. Sadly, I think I have tried to make this mother-daughter relationship work between my mother and my self, but again, it all feels so one-sided. I have begun to avoid her more and more in an attempt to keep my life as normal as it is. I am so tired of entreating HER to go out and make friends. One of our last conversations on the subject were my asking how it was going regarding attempting to make friends in her apartment complex. She snapped at me, and I mean snapped, when she said,...." I HAVE tried!!!!! I don't like any of them, and none of them like me!!!!!" This apartment complex has over 300 units. All the residents are in her age range. I.e., late 70s to early 90s. I am left with the feeling that she really doesn't want a friend, she wants me, and my time. My resentment over the past with what she did to our family, and the present, with how or why she feels I should be obligated to 'be there' for her, when she was not there for any of us, is getting worse. How can I keep my positive happy life from being destroyed by her constant nagging for my time and attention, when again, as I said, is not enriching at all, as she sits there like a bump on a log and barely ever says more than a paragraph worth of anything. Most of the words out of her mouth are in part, her mantra, which seems to be "I'm lonely, I'm depressed, DO for me!!!!!!"

Please help!

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My son and me moved in with my mum a year ago. Hes 22 and im 50. Im divorced and when my dad and brother died within two years, we thought we could help with her loneliness and all be together. Saying that, I had my doubts!!! Did it though.

She has always claimed to have illnesses all through my life, but nothing is ever diagnosed. Nothing concrete.

I know shes missing her husband and son, but its a constant battle for time alone and everyday brings another illness or diagnosis or problem, which are so unfounded.

My son will probably find work in another city soon, and I do work and am seriously thinking of increasing my hours. In short, im finding every day a struggle, being home, and feel guilt for saying it.
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My goodness, so many ppl with the same problems..
My mother developed depression and anxiety in her early 40s and my father catered to her every whim til the day he died which was 5 years ago.
When dad got cancer, he wanted to move out of the house which was harder for him to upkeep but mom wanted to stay in her home, so they stayed....
After dad passed, she stayed there another year, grew dependent on the neighbors to the point that when they went on holidays, she had a breakdown. She had to go to a psychiatric hospital until she was somewhat better, then refused to go back to her house. She went to an assisted living facility for seniors because she couldn't stand the thought of going back home. I had to pack up her house, clean it, sell it and sell the remaining contents. I had help from my brother and SIL for that thank goodness.
Fast forward a couple of years, she did things that were against the rules and downright dangerous to other residents living there, therefore got herself kicked out of that residence and they moved her closer to us.
Since dad died, she has latched onto me and expects me to do as my father did, cater to her every need. She is relentless and it is nothing for her to call me 20-30 times a week if not more...needs me to do this, wants me to do that, pick this up, pick that up....it's worse now that she lives closer.
I work full time, babysit my granddaughter and a house that needs tending as well....and I'm 55 and starting to get so depressed over this.
I finally created some boundaries after going home after a short visit....she called and complained that my visit was so short that it was a joke.
I just waited til I wasn't upset anymore and called her back and told her I couldn't continue anymore at that pace...I'm only 18 years younger than she is and I'm getting tired. I will no longer talk to her every day. I will call her every 2nd or 3rd day. I told her she has 2 other children that she neglects to call, then complains that they don't call her.
She's trying to make me feel guilty the last couple of days by leaving messages on my phone that I HAVE to go and attend to her computer, her phone, her bills.....all of which are not emergencies.
I'm so tired, seeing her name on my phone is literally making me sick, anxious....and I feel guilty, cause that's not the way I should feel about my mother.
Felt good to read other responses on here, gives me some new ideas to try with her and also, I feel a little less guilty. Thanks everyone...I will be back :)
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Its so hard for us women. I find I am very susceptible to guilt. Thank you all for your suggestions. I know I need to implement these suggestion too with my grandmother. We all have choices. And as caregivers we have to make the choice to consider our own health as well.
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Let your mom know that's it's up to her if she wants to be miserable and lonely. If she doesn't want to be that way, that's her choice too, you are not going to be her source of entertainment and happiness. If she starts on the lonely thing, nip it in the bud and walk away. When she figures it out that you are not going to be what she wants when she snapped her fingers, she might figure out a way to be happier.
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@kimber and jeannegibbs - thank you for the encouragement. I just found this site this morning, things are looking better already:). Her wrestling for control is relentless. Ive thought about why all of her behaviors are really on steroids recently, say within the last 5 years. I think its because when we are young daughters -we are compliant and dutiful . Then we have children and the kids act as buffers (symbiotic relationship - she needs you, you need help with kids). But when the kids are grown and flown (mine are 22, 19, 17) the manipulations become more obvious. My father died a year ago. Her dependent,NPD personality has undergone metamorphosis (think Incredible Hulk/Bill Bixby). Thank you again for the encouragement
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Oh Kimber! That is awesome! Good for you. Most of us do love our parents -- we can hardly help it. But love does not require putting up with destructive behavior. I am impressed that you did it, that you have your sister supporting you, and that you have done this at least three years.

Liza, I think you are certainly on the right path. Say, "I love you, but refuse to engage in any further arguments with you." But enforce that, as Kimber does. If you have said that twice and she continues, switch to, "You seem to be upset now, Mother. I will call tomorrow and hope you are feeling better then."
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Liza - reading your post made me smile and stress - this is so my mom!!! What works for me is loving boundaries and i say "mom - i'm not going to get into this - i love you, bye" and hang up if we are on the phone, or leave if i am at her house. If she is at mine - i get up and leave the room. Since she wants to go off on me - this all pi$$es her off greatly and then i get a ten page - capitalized, underlined, exclamation point letter. Which i do not acknowledge. She used to do the drop by "with something for Luke" (my son). I stopped answering the door - if i didn't agree, i'm not answering the door, even though she knows i am home. If i am in the yard, i don't stop what i'm doing "thank you, i'll give it to him, see you".

I do the above so my mom and her attempts to encroach on boundaries are not successful. I do spend a lot of time with her in person and on the phone. Positive interaction. We enjoy each others company. But when she starts the manipulation - i nip it in the bud.

Good luck to you. Easter is coming up - it reminds me of a Christmas dinner a few years ago when my mom took the opportunity of crying and venting on both my sister and myself - right in the middle of dinner. my sister and i agreed ahead of time what we would do. mom started the water works and the complaints about us. We said "we're sorry you feel that way, we love you" and changed the topic. After a few times of this we were direct "we aren't getting into that now" and changed the subject. Finally after she kept on we said "why don't we give you a few minutes to pull yourself together" and we all took our plates to the other room and left her at the dining room table alone. This shocked her. She sat in the dining room all alone and cried and felt sorry for herself. Then as we washed up she mumbled to herself about "being all alone at Christmas" etc. My sister and i cheerfully ignored the comments, our husbands and kids played together, and we only exchanged polite comments with mom.

When everyone left, she stayed and tried again. I cut her off - and told her that while we loved her, we were not going to ruin holidays and that if she couldn't behave, she wouldn't be invited.

Got another ten page letter after that day and she didn't speak to me for months, but we have not had a bad holiday dinner in 3 years. She still tries on other occasions - it is just part of her messed up personality. BUT, my sister and i no longer engage. Much less stressful.
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I am currently waiting on either 1) my weekly angry emotional phone call describing my deficiencies or 2) my boundary-crossing "drop by unannounced" visit , accompanied by a passive aggressive "wouldnt want to BOTHER you" comment. See, I Made the mistake of calling mom to check in on saturday. I listened to the litany of her problems, complaints, for about 20 min. When she begins with the list of complaints (i.e. bills coming in , too much to do etc), I brace for the impact. The "list" always culminates with the final "ITS YOUR FAULT" "YOUVE ABANDONED ME" comments, tears, wimpering "I would NEVER abandon YOU" type comments. My husband and I have decided that the big emotional outbursts, now 'cycle" - about every 60 days. I was overdue. I have been doing research, fully understand how I am being manipulated. Told her upon Saturday's phone conversation that "i wont be accused/attacked etc" , she hung up on me. Her more interesting manipulations - she FINDS reasons to come to my home "have to drop off this pan", "have to drop off money for the grandkids", "made cookies, I have extra" etc. She uses her "generosity" as a manipulation to enter my life when she knows she is not invited. Anyone elses mom do that? Giving money/food/etc, all in the name of "i ALWAYS DO FOR YOU, WHY WONT YOU DO FOR ME?". Something snapped in me on SAturday. I cant do this anymore. Ive developed a plan. The plan is to have a catch phrase for the impending verbal beat down. Since I know there is no reasoning with her, I wont engage anymore. The catch phrase I will use will go something like "I love you, but refuse to engage in any further arguments with you". When she persists, I will simply repeat the phrase over and over and over and over. This should make for a GREAT EASTER together. God help us.
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I can relate to what you are experiencing. I am sorry you are going through this. As my parents get older, they are wanting to rely more and more on me. I am the oldest of 5, so you can imagine how resentful I was beginning to feel. My parents were neglectful and abusive towards me and my siblings growing up, so we've never had a good relationship. As my parents have gotten older though, they've had no shame in asking us to do things. I have had to set a specific day/time aside to visit them so I can prepare myself, I don't take phone calls from them during work hours (I usually call them while I'm driving home/wherever so there's a limit as to how much I spend on the phone with them), and I don't respond to nagging or repetitive conversations. I don't take time off from work to help them with anything (my sister was taking time off at some point and it almost cost her her job/sanity). I am not sure how well your mother is, but I have seen many elderly people (including my parents) that are fully capable of living independently, however, expect others to do everything for them. I would recommend setting strict boundaries, otherwise you will find yourself completely immersed in your mother's unhappy life. If she's in a home, she will be taken care of. Do not allow yourself to feel guilty or shame for setting healthy boundaries. As a therapist, I have seen way too many women lose their independence, time with children and their partner/husband, and become depressed due to taking care of their parents (many of which are fully capable of doing things themselves or can reach out to agencies for help). My family is Mexican and taking care of the elderly often falls on the oldest daughters. It will take a lot of effort on your part to set boundaries. Just remember that you are not alone and have every right to say "no."
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i just moved out of my mom's house seven month ago and she still call me up to come over and help her pick up her backyard and other stuff but I think I shouldn't have to go every time she needs my help. what should I do?
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