My mom lives with me, 89. She does not drive anymore and this Covid has closed her one outlet which is Bingo with her friends. She is in house all day. She watches tv and talks to her friends on phone I am happy for that.
She is a sensitive loving mom and literally cries at the drop of a hat although her personality errs on side of extreme bossiness as well. I tried talking to her about boundaries but she always goes back to her old ways. We end up having words and I ALWAYS feel guilty after that. I want to feel good about myself and find more often than not feeling awful of myself as a person ongoingly. Mom has a way of pressing old buttons. I try to bite my tongue. There is so much history between us that goes back to my childhood that it is extremely difficult. Her memory is now very poor and she forgets much I what I presently say. My brother does not help me he suffers from a mental disorder so I feel much alone. I find myself trying to avoid her at home. She is always requesting something I do for her which puts me on the defense. I can’t simply have a conversation w my mom which I would love. She tends to talk at me. I am always on the defense and it takes us down the road of arguing. She always says she doesn’t mean it that way. I begin the boundary conversation again it lasts shortly and then right back to her old way. When I left home as a young adult it was the same and now that she is with me 40 yrs later nothing has changed. It pretty much picks up where it left off. I am grateful for my mom but this (feeling bad) of myself as a person for saying things to her I wish I rather had not is extremely difficult. She has been with me now 9 yrs.

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You are going at boundaries from the wrong angle, they are for you to enforce, not her to remember.
Helpful Answer (7)

What makes you say that your mother is a ’sensitive loving mom and literally cries at the drop of a hat’? Your profile doesn’t sound like that – she’s been bossy since your childhood, forced you into a marriage that you bitterly regretted, she’s ‘always requesting something’, she won’t stick to the boundaries she has agreed with you, she arranged the ‘golden promise’ years in advance, she presses old buttons and she makes you feel GUILTY. ‘Crying at the drop of a hat’ sounds more like a control mechanism than ‘sensitive and loving’.

I don’t go much on counselors, but this sounds like a good time to talk through with someone else how you feel about her, yourself, and the interactions between you. It could also be a good time to find somewhere else for her to live, so that you can be a daughter on less intimate and inappropriate terms. This is going to get worse, not better, and at 64 you should be thinking about how to spend the rest of your life.
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If your mom forgets things why would she feel hurt if she knew? She sounds very manipulative if she can cry at a drop of a hat. Brother sounds like he gets an easy out by getting mad. Then he can walk away. What mental illness does he have that he can't help? Does he hold a job? If he does then he can help. Does he take meds, then he can help. He is able to take orders and do his job without getting mad. Unless he is delusional or having psychotic break he should be able to help some. .,.They have you trained.

Time to change living arrangements. If you have to get a mother-in-law suite or or try to get a buffer by getting in help at those times you have to interact with her. I know hard in times of covid. Maybe just a few hrs. Take their temp and find one that stays at home. But if you can't...
Have you noticed she gets bossy at the end of the day? Or at specific times? She sounds like a narcissist. If she can't manipulate and get her way, she cries? And you cave? The guilt thing is usually a big sign and tromping all over you is another.
I think you need to learn grey rock method. You do whatever you have to do, but don't engage. Lots of YouTube videos on it. A person can't argue with themselves. She starts ordering you around, you do what you want to do. At the pace you want to do it. Dont say anything. Say your intentions and thats it. If she starts acting up you leave the room. Immediately. Dont say a word. Sounds like she sees you as someone she can control? Her personal servant now?

So your the one that has to change. If you dont do what she wants, she will have a melt down. An adult 4yr old tantrum? Walk away immediately. You have to put up boundaries and stick to them. Every time it starts dont say a word and walk away, or finish what you are doing and dont interact. Sometimes you can't walk out that second. Then cont without a word,, and then walk away when its safe to do so.
I wouldn't live with a mom who is treating you like a child. That is emmeshment. If you can't get away, just get out of the house. Take a walk or do something for YOU daily. For your stress. If she's calling you and you know it can wait, dont drop everything and run. Take your time. You feel guilty, ok. Feel guilty. Is that working for you? No it isn't. Hot news flash every daughter is a hostile daughter bc they won't drop everything and do what their mother wants. Oh well. She is still living. Remember whilst yor feeling bad. SHE IS NOT!!!!Get her voice out of your head.

Narcissists love to guilt people and you are right where she wants you. She doesn't feel guilt or remorse. She's getting away with treating you however she wants. You can only change your reaction to it. Id start watching all those vids on how to deal with a narcissist. Invaluable. And how to deal with guilt. Its free. Or get a podcast or a book that you can listen to while doing other things. You will learn strategies. You are going to have to shut down the that looped tape in your head. Your mom put that there. Take it out and destroy it. No room in your head for that. Every time it starts up. Shut it down and force yourself to think of something else. Every time. Might take 3 days, but start doing that.

If she starts poor me and starts crying leave the room if you can. You dont say a word. The crying jags will stop. No audience to share it with. Dont get her tissues, apologie, rub her back. STOP IT!!

You need to start working on your reaction and to stop guilting yourself. Your mom has put that in your head and loves the results. You need to study up on how to interact with a narcissist on YouTube. That is free and doesnt require a therapist. You can't change her, but u can change your reaction to her. Good luck.
Helpful Answer (6)

"She tends to talk at me. I am always on the defense and it takes us down the road of arguing. She always says she doesn’t mean it that way."

When I was in therapy my therapist told me that was emotionally abusive. It is crazy making. She DID mean it that way. To say she didn't is a lie. It is designed to make you doubt yourself.
Helpful Answer (6)
lealonnie1 Dec 2020
Like when my mother says, "I know I shouldn't say this BUT............."
Or when she says something ugly, then claims she didn't mean it that way, it was 'a joke'. It wasn't.
When a person tells you who they are, believe them.
Emotional abuse is real
In fact, when I was a child, I used to ask her to beat me up so the emotional abuse could just END already. Get it over with and move on.
A mother who talks at you and constantly argues with you, isn't willing to accept the boundaries you are trying to set down for your own mental health is not a "sensitive/loving" person. Period. You are being controlled and emotionally abused here and you don't realize it. You have been conditioned to believe your mother is The Most Wonderful Person On The Earth, no matter WHAT she does or says, as I have, but it isn't true! Once you realize that, your life changes.

She has installed the buttons ON you that she pushes on a daily basis. Then, when you react in a negative manner, it's 'your fault' and you feel badly; you feel ashamed of yourself for reacting the way you have been PROGRAMMED to react. It's the way the cycle of abuse works. It's the only way to keep a person in an abusive relationship: to keep them feeling shame & guilt, or FOG, fear/obligation & guilt. It's the way it all works.

You both made a decision, long ago, that your mother would live with you. Which means your MOTHER made a decision and you accepted it, as you've accepted everything else she's said & done to you all these years. Your profile says it all.

It's time to make a NEW decision, all of your own making. That either you move out or mother moves out because it's time to have a NEW life of your very own with nobody telling you what to do or how to feel. This does not mean that you don't love her or that you will never see her again. Just that the living arrangements have to change, for YOUR sake. It's okay to say that, it's okay to feel's okay to DO that.

Sacrificing YOUR entire life for anyone is NOT okay.

Never light yourself on fire to keep someone else warm, as one of our other posters here on AgingCare has so wisely said.

At your age, you are ENTITLED to a life of your own; you have earned it. A life of peace and joy and happiness.

People telling you things like, "Please remember your mom won't be around forever" is just another guilt tactic to REINFORCE the FOG that you're already feeling. Don't fall for this tactic! Nobody is alive forever. Old age is not a free pass to be a big bully and to treat your children like garbage! Remember that!

Take your life back as soon as you possibly can by making a decision in YOUR own best interest. It may sound hard to do, but you CAN do it! Make a plan. Today. Give yourself some hope for a brighter future!

Good luck to you! Sending you a hug & a prayer for peace.
Helpful Answer (5)

First, I sense that you are experiencing some caregiver burnout, which happens to the best of us if we're not careful in taking care of ourselves too. You yourself said that mom's memory is very poor, so trying to talk to her about boundaries, and expecting her to remember, is a mute point at this stage. You can still however set boundaries for yourself, and when you feel mom has crossed them you make the decision in how to react. Even though she is your mom, you are now the adult in this situation, and she is in your home, so don't be afraid to lay ground rules for yourself in what you will tolerate and what you won't.

Now that being said, you must take time away from your mom, and do something that you enjoy, as often as you can. If you have to hire someone to come stay with mom while you do, then do it. It's so very important that you get the breaks you need. You will be amazed how just a little time away can change your whole perspective on things. Also I learned this the hard way with my husband, that people with memory issues tend to mirror the mood of the one caring for them. So if you're angry or upset, your mom will be too, and if you're calm and pleasant, the same applies. Now I can't guarantee that that works 100% of the time, but I know from experience that it does work. And the fact that you say your mom can be loving and sensitive, is great. Maybe try being loving and sensitive back. Wishing you the best.
Helpful Answer (4)

Hi Stargeek!

Our mom life is similar. She’s had dementia about 5 years, the past 2 years there has been a severe decline. She’s lived with me and my husband for 8 years. I have 4 siblings who live elsewhere and are sure I’ve got this. She doesn’t know I’m her daughter and that has made our home life very strange. If I can get my sisters to call, she raves about her family yet I’m the only one here. So that was a bit of background. Now to address your comments.
I’ve noticed that although she doesn’t see me as family anymore, we have deep history. As a result, I’ve figured out that she still pushes my buttons! Go figure. She’s in hospital at the present time (built in respite) and doing fine, loves her nurses, etc. however when I came to visit last evening she immediately began crying and saying nobody cares, she’s been forgotten, and wants to die. It was shocking. I went into action trying to solve this. Ummm. Moments later (after I’m a wreck and ready to sue someone for making my mom feel bad) she was fine and happy. All I can derive from this is that seeing me was the trigger. They still know how to work us!!
By the way, we ended the visit very pleasantly last evening and today’s phone call she was after me about when am I picking her up. They will always work to drive us who care for them. They can’t articulate it but it seems to me that they (our moms) have figured out a way to communicate with us that they need us. Oh joy. And apparently we are the healthy ones of the siblings so “we’ve got it”.
Hope this note resonates with you. Your note certainly did with me.
Please watch out for your own health. This loving care you are providing, even through all the emotional button pushing, is honorable but our moms would not want us to go down with the ship. Please take care of yourself.
Helpful Answer (4)

I could have posted this--except that I wouldn't let my mother move in with me.

The ONLY way I can maintain boundaries is simply to not see her unless I am in good headspace. She can be sweet, but she can also be so cutting and cruel. A little dementia, but not so much she's unaware of what she's saying.

Having your mom live with you is a big difference. That's why she's with YB, with whom she has a weird relationship, very twisted, but it's NOT my problem.

YOU have to be strong, mom won't change. It's totally unfair, but it is what it is. Unless you plan to move her to AL or somewhere, this will be on you for the foreseeable future.

I did find that when I felt my hackles rising.....I'd cut my visit short. Is there a place in you home that is 'hers'? The key to sharing living space is that each 'family' has their own space. Mother stays in her apartment, mostly, and does not interact with the family.

Wishing you luck--so many of us are navigating these rough waters.
Helpful Answer (4)

Hello! Since April 2020 I have been in a similar situation. After a few months of caring for my live-in mother with mild dementia, I realized that I was feeling depressed and powerless just like I did as a child living under my mother’s house. We had petty arguments too.
To act from my “adult self” rather than the voiceless child and to deal with my childhood issues, I saw a therapist and a psychiatrist (virtually). I realized that like a parent of a toddler, I needed to set the environment of my home. It’s not easy, and we still argue, but I am feeling so much better as I am less reactive. As someone else said before, our elderly parents with memory issues often mirror the mood that is before them. She seems to be doing better as well.
I encourage you to prioritize self-care!
Best wishes!
Helpful Answer (4)

Little personality psychology lesson. We all have personalities that tend to be inborn - as in genetically formed. Some folks are more outgoing, probably your mom. Some folks tend to be more quiet, probably you. Some folks tend to be more task-oriented, probably your mom. Some folks tend to be more relationship-oriented, probably you. She will not really change much from her "factory default settings" nor will you. That is why it is important to have good boundaries. The boundaries are not for them, they are for you. You decide on what behaviors cause you problems and how you want to handle the problem(s) when they come up. Keep implementing the coping strategies you have determined to use when problem behaviors with your mom crop up. NEVER EVER are your coping strategies to tolerate abuse or to abuse another.

If you find that mom's behavior has become intolerable, it may be time to come up with other living arrangements. There are plenty of senior living arrangements if needed.
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