I am going mad trying to please my mom. How do I keep her happy?

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My 83 year old mother suffered a stroke 7 months ago, it was in her spine and she has slowly lost the use of her right leg, and is now in a wheelchair most of her days. I was living on the other side of the country but raced to be with her and subsequently took care of her once she came out of hospital, it was hell.

I have never had a good relationship with her and have spent most of my life trying to live as far away as possible from her. But I really felt that this was the end for her and told myself to stop being so selfish and nasty and try to be a good daughter. We lasted about a month before her nastiness got to me, and I took off back home, and I missed my husband, so was pleased to be gone.

She then had a fall which really knocked her confidence badly, I was a little hesitant to drop everything and race over to her again, my sister who only lives an hour away I hoped would look after her, but mum wanted me (god knows why). When I saw her lying in bed she looked so small and old, again I felt so guilty, I decided to give up my job, give up my life, and I made a promise to take care of her, she didn't want to go in a home. She told me it was my duty and that I owed her...I know emotional blackmail, and it worked.

Cutting a very long story short, I've moved her and I into a new house, its been 2 weeks and I think I'm losing my marbles. If I so much as have a bad day or go out or have an argument with my husband, she gets so nasty, and gossips about me to anyone who will listen. She says I'm cruel and unkind to her, when my days are completely taken caring for her cookin, cleanin, showering, and makin sure she is comfortable. I take her out most days and have almost thrown the wheelchair and jumped on it trying to get it in and out of the car. But its never enough. The tears from her are constant and I feel like the most evil person ever. My husband is ready to run a mile as I am just so miserable.

I have one day off a week that I go into town to shop or just sit and have a coffee. I have tried as others have to get her involved in more social activities, but she wont have anything to do with 'old' people, and if I push it I'm being evil again. In 6 months I've been out one night with my husband because she refuses to be on her own, even tho she has a St John life link alarm. If I don't go and check on her in bedroom every 30 mins she gets annoyed. i just get sick of running after her like a slave.

I'm ready to run a mile again, but this time I cant, I need help but have no idea who can help me, friends and my family know what she is like and I think they are so relieved the pressure is off them that they leave me to it...Help...anyone else relate to me????

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Sorry for the typos. I personalized the abuse you're going through and lost a little control.
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RUBY:

You don't owe her squat and there's no reason why caring for her should be your Purgatory. Right now, she's just a smaller, somewhat disabled version of her old abusive self; which explains your sister doesn't want anything to do with her. I wouldn't either.

Her marbles are obviously intact, so she'll keep pushing your buttons until you do something you don't want to do. Then she'll play the victim, make you feel guilty, and until the day she passes you'll be atoning for being such a "bad, ungrateful daughter." In a nutshell, she'll own you; doormat and all.

Make her an offer she won't be able to refuse: either she cooperates and be nice or face or be sent away. For now, get some NH brochures and ask her which one she'd like to go to within 48 hours.

Might sound heartless, but there's nothing like reclaiming your self-respect.
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Mother is very capable of doing many of the things she wants me to do for her. She is a physiotherapist and I remind her that the more she does for herself the better (we grew up with that slogan.) She can talk on the phone when it suits her but can't hear when it doesn't suit her. I have been accused of all kinds of things by my mother and my sister. You are fortunate to have sibling support. Another characteristic is that people are either good or bad - and those positions can switch quickly. My mother has suggested that I see a professional too - but she would not consider it for herself. Unfortunately my sister goes along with her. A psychiatrist who saw all of us once years ago (at my request and mother threw him out after 10 minutes) pronounced me normal and the other two not. She was not interested in his feedback.. You are right about enabling by going along with it. I have cut out at various times over the years for my survival. Now that mother is older she does need some help, but I can oversee that from a distance. She lives in another city by her own choice, and has people there who can do what is necessary. I am glad that you and your husband are making plans and that you are being more honest. It is not OK. Let the fear, guilt and obligation go, do what you need to do to see her safe in a suitable place. You may well find she will be happier there when she doesn't have you around as a whipping boy.(girl).
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Narcissistic that describes her perfectly. I can't even bear to be in her company at the moment. I have warned my husband to stay clear because once she gets her hooks into him she will try and convince him that I am mentally unstable (who wouldnt be after looking after her), and that he could do better. This is the same man who my mother hated with all her passion 8 months ago, who refused to hear his name uttered in her presence. Now she thinks it would be great if I buggered off and he look after her! Because he is so much kinder blar blar. We had a hell of a row over it yesterday, and I said the pair of them are ganging up on me, ridiculous. Once I really stood back from all of this I thought that I am enabling this by putting up with this, I forget sometimes that I have choices as well, a lifetime of my mothers dominance makes me forget that I am an adult and not to be afraid of her. Today she will cry she will accuse me of being mean and horrible, she will suggest I see a professional to help me sort myself out, she will tell me I have always been strange, and then she will ring my sister and tell her how awful I am etc, but unlucky for mother, she has treated my sister so badly that now its like crying wolf over and over again, no one is buying the drama anymore. I've realised that I am in control not just of my own feelings but I can actually say what I think to my mother, yesterday I carefully said that I don't want to do this anymore, rather than I can't do this, that just sets me up for the failure speech from her, and how I've broken my promise to look after her etc. I want to get on with my life now, and not be scared she will dump me or not speak to me or talk about me. She is an old lady now who refuses to accept her age and her stage. This is her problem not mine. My husband and I are starting to plan where we will move on to now, it will take a couple of months maybe more to get this all sorted, but it will be sorted. And she will learn tomorrow that I will not jump and be her secretary as she calls me, I will make her call the dr as she is more than capable, I will take her to the appt, and if the doctor asks me how its all going with her, I won't just shrug and go its ok...because its not.
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(((((ruby)))) my mother has that elitism too. A couple of years ago she was diagnosed with borderline personality disorder. I had made an informal diagnosis years ago. There is no doubt she has narcisissm as well. It sounds like your mum has a personality disorder too. I cannot spend much time with her and her constant negativity. We got her a live in seniors nanny and that fell apart in less than a year. Then at her request we moved her to an ALF a couple of years ago, but the people there were not good enough for her and there was trouble with the staff so within 6 months I had to move her again. She is a healthy 99 yr old physically (doctors are amazed at her)and I am now 74 and all of this is hard on me. She seems to thrive on change.This time I told her the next move would be a nursing home if she could not cope with the new ALF. She will not eat in the dining room as she says the service is bad and does not socialize even though she has said people there are a "better quality"! She always has complaints and expects me to "fix" them immediately to the point of 20+ emails a day. Finally I have stopped responding to emails. They are highly repetitive and I find the continual pressure to do stuff for her, regardless of my health and personal needs, is stressful. I have POA and am going to discuss giving that up to some non family member with her financial advisor as she has asked me for help and then gotten nasty when I did what she asked. There is no way to "win". Over my lifetime, I have tried everything. My sister is similar and no help at all though the favoured child. Guilt is one of the biggest weapons they use as well as fear and obligation - FOG - thanks to cmagnum. It is a serious and not easily treatable mental illness. In my mother's case she would never agree to treatment as she thinks she is fine and every one else is at fault. Stick to your guns and look after yourself! People of any age with this type of probem will suck the life out of you. and -as someone here said - they will chew you up, spit you out, step in the mess and then blame you. Good luck! So much of what you write sounds familiar.
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I really did think i was going mad until I read all the posts and realised that my story is so similiar to many on here. I've had the week from hell and I feel like I'm living a war. I am exhausted, yesterday it was another show down because I came clean and said ive had enough. It was time for her to go in a home. I'm tired of day in day out being with her, I can hardly go up the road to get milk because as soon as I say I'm going anywhere, she gets sick, and I know its all to get me to do what she wants. I sat and listened to her tell me that I have issues and that I need counselling, and the icing on the cake was that she was going to talk to the dr on Monday to get tranquilizers to calm her nerves and recommended I take them too. All because I said I not doin this anymore. Her family can't stand her, she has said some of the most horrific things to them, her friends have all but disappeared, one hangs in there...just She feels such a cut above anyone else because she had private schooling don't you know! She refuses point blank to go to daycare where there are horrid old dribbly people who can't hold a conversation. She wears her massive diamonds like a queen wears her crown, and rolls her eyes when someone says they are beautiful. That is why she wears them to let people know she is a cut above, to me I'm embarrassed its just showing off. She needs to be in a home she can't walk and is in a wheelchair, and wants to buy a villa...again to show off. So now we have to find a poncy home with nice old people that will be on her level, you know the ones a bit more upper class than the old smelly ones who can't talk...her words! I'm done now and I will be leaving this place when she is in somewhere, I will visit her when I can, but will not buy into the guilt trip anymore. She is just not a nice person. And now I have to deal with her until she goes in a home....God help me
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It's amazing how many of us are experiencing the same situations and are seeking for some assistance in handling the issues with dementia in a parent. My 93-year old mother is making life so hard for her 3 daughters, even though we are doing all we can to allow her to stay in her own home. No words of appreciation for all that we do, just constant complaining and criticizing and attempting to pit one of us girls against the other. Lately, she has become physically violent and puts herself and others in dangerous situations. Although she is not taking ANY medications at all, I'm at a point when I feel it would be forgiven if I "slipped" some into her food! Or, maybe I should just get on anti-depressants myself and let her be as mean and argumentative as she likes.
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You can't please someone who really doesn't want to be content. There are people who always have to have something to complain about - my mother is one. Maybe is gives some feeling of control? There will ALWAYS be something that doesn't suit them. Sometimes the hospitals have programs for emotional support for elderly, and of course there are senior centers and other programs such as day care, (but my mother is anti sociable and will not attend.) If they won't go, you just have to tell them that you are doing the best you can under the circumstances and that you cannot FIX everything for them. And then just walk away. I have had people in my small town give me dirty looks in public when I do this, and the members of my family who do not deal with her on a regular basis think that I am uncaring when I do this. They hug her and make over her and try to please... you can't keep it up. They would be screaming and running for the door in two days. This is why I would like to move to another town! You have to put your own emotional well being first. I know another caregiver who was so worn down by this situation that he moved to another state to totally start other fresh. Hearing constant complaining is enough to make anyone feel depressed and frustrated. I would like to give everyone on here a big hug. I know how you feel. People can only change themselves - you can't do it for them.
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Except for the stroke you could be talking about my mother. Luckily I have 3 sisters who all agreed that the best place for Mom was an assisted living, but being the oldest she blames me for her miserable existence. She has always been a narcissistic, manipulative individual. With age, 81, she's has increased the petty meanness that has always been there but is now more overt. After the second time she hung up on me, I decided I was done. I told her that until she could have an adult conversation, including agreeing to disagree I would no longer call her.

With the help of a therapist I now realize that I can not make her happy no matter what I do. It's been 5 weeks since I've talked to her and my siblings are ok with this. I check up on how she is doing through them and still handling some things for her with the blessings of my sisters.

I grieve for the mother I wish I had had, but realize that at this late date it isn't going to happen. I can say that she has taught me, though her less than stellar example, how to be a better mother to my adult children and I thank God for that blessing.
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OMG!!! I feel your pain. Our Mom is 83 years old and in her eyes my sister and I never do or did anything right. We try so hard to be good daughters, but it's sometimes just so hard with all the criticism we get constantly. She complains constantly and tells us how fat we are or how our decorating is awful bacause we choose not to have the sterile hospital look she likes. She tells us how our hair should look or the color should be bright yellow white like hers. Our Mom is always right. She's never wrong and she thinks she is 20 years old. She kinda dresses like a young girl. Tight jeans with short tops and big heals. We try so hard for her to start wearing flattter more comfortable shoes, but we are nuts. We are always nuts and always wrong in her eyes. Everyone knows how she is. It's so sad that people know how she is and she chooses to always be mean. I refuse to be like her or treat my kids like she treats us. She can barely walk anymore, but argues constantly with us about her shoes. She thought she was always healthy and never needed to go to the doctor. Just because she takes vitamins and won't eat red meat does not mean she shouldn't go get check ups, We could see the decline in her, but we are crazy in her eyes. So we made a doctor appointment without her knowing and the day we took her shopping we drove her to the doctor. She wouldn't get out of the car. She started biting, kicking and swearing at us. A nurse had to come out to get her. Once we were in the office she was screaming at how horrible of daughters we are and we are so fat that we need a doctor. I was never so embarrased and not just for us, but for her. Sure we can stand to loose a few pounds, but she makes us sound like we are elephants. My sister is crying and between the 2 of us we are extremely stressed. I think I have aged faster than I should because of what our Mother has put us through. Come to find out after many other doctors is our Mom has a bad heart valve, she has a low thyroid and bad dementia, but we are crazy and she says there is not a thing wrong with her. That the doctors are nuts. She tells the doctor she has never had a cold. Yes she has. In July we all took our Mom out for dinner for her birthday and we are glad we did cause 4 days later she had a breathing problem where she lost oxygen and her dementia got worst. It's because of her heart problem. Her valve doesn't open and close properly. After that our Mom could not be home alone so this is when we had to look for a facility for her. We live in Az and found a place called Citadel, but she wouldn't stay there. It was a beautiful place with the nicest people living there, but she didn't like all the old people. She doesn't like to be with old people. My sister and I hired movers and we decorated her new place as close as her house. It looked beautiful, but she hated it. She yelled at us telling us we had no right. She said we stole all her stuff. We know she has dementia, but the old Mom was still there. Dementia or no dementia. She had no clue what she was doing to us and never did. She'd started packing up her stuff. She wanted to go home. We understand it's hard to leave your home, but she needed round the clock care. My sister and I have families also. She got so mean to the people at Citadel that they had to put her in a hospital that was locked down for people with mental disorders just so they can figure out the proper medication she needs and to get her stable.. While she was there we had to find a place that would take her. We looked everywhere. We saw some of the most horrible nursing homes that smelled so bad. We saw horrible group homes. It took awhile, but we found her the most wonderful group home. A doctor owns a few beautiful homes and they take great care of our Mom. Recently the heart problem has taken a toll on her and she now has full blown Altzheimers. She doesn't even know who my sister and I are anymore and has reverted back to being a baby. It's the sadest thing I have ever seen and I just do not like going to see her. It's horrible. My sister and I have gone through alot with our Mom. She was a mean, sometimes evil person to get along with her whole life. She was still our Mom and we tried, but theres is only so much you can do when you have a Mom like ours. It's really sad when her own grandchildren wouldn't even have anything to do with her because they saw what she was doing to there own Mom. There were days I would come home hysterical and couldn't control the crying and my son saw me like that. He never has forgiven his grandmother for treating me like I was nothing. I know I shouldn't say this, but I'm finally feeling better not having the criticism thrown at me anymore. I will always have that hurt in me that will never go away. I do not choose to take after my Mom at all and choose to be the best Mom there is to my kids. I choose to tell them how wonderful and proud of them I am and to always tell them I love them. I didn't learn that from my Mom. I also choose to one day be the best Grandma I can because My Mom didn't know how to do that either. I will pray for each and everyone of you.
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