How to not feel guilty for saying no?

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I am 52, my mom is 82. I have an an older sister 62 that now has health issues but has basically cut herself out, another mentally handicapped but functional older sister 59 that lives with my mother, and a leach younger overweight diabetic loser of a brother that lives off my mother because he can't work and he's sick all the time because "he's diabetic" and he does nothing to control it. Now, my older brother who was also living with my mom but has passed used to be her primary caregiver. Both brothers have been addicts and my younger still goes to the clinic for methedone. He gets his butt up for that.
Now me, 52, I live with my husband, work full time, am going to school to have a better career and make more money so I can one day semi retire but still work from home since I'm behind the 8 ball in that respect due to an earlier divorce. I was a stay at home mom during that time. What do I do? My youngest is 18, he's in college, my oldest 25, he graduated and is working. I use my precious days off to complete assignments for school that would normally be given a week to do but I cram them in best I can so I can hurry and be done College.
My mom calls to call and ask for help and I don't have time to wipe my own butt. And I feel guilty because I'm the most RESPONSIBLE of all the kids in the family.
We do have 1 angel of mercy, my deceased brothers' best friends wife who consider my mom their mom. But I feel guilty everytime my mom calls me, and I'm usually at work and I tell her I can't help I'm working. AND in this equation, I am the only one actally working. My older out of the picture sister works but she has her own issues.
My mom on a constant basis tells me about how quiet it is at the house because of my brother dying and my handicapped sister is sad. Honestly I've made peace with my brothers death. He abused his body with drugs and was on methedone when he passed. My mom is still blaming the physician and she is acting the same as when my dad died. It had to be someones fault.
Now my mom is concerned with paying for future funerals for my sister(fine with me) and my loser brother that leaches off her since he was a kid (not fine in my opinion) I refuse to go over there because I detest my brother and I don't even want to speak to him he makes me so angry. I've told my mom this, and she says that's not fair. But she's the enabler and allows him to be there, eating all her food and doing nothing around the house. The boxed christmas tree is still downstairs. And on top of this, HE brought bedbugs into the home bc of public transport to the clinic. Now I can't really in good conscience go in that house and risk my own. She's had it treated, but they returned because he brought it in again. Its since been treated.
She gets all depressed and calls me, but what can I do, she is letting this happen and if I say anything about my brother she gets mad and says we can't change that.
What do I do. I have to have a career, I put my life on hold for kids now I'm getting all this, and I don't care what anyone says, you can't free yourself from guilt. Especially from moms. Someone tell me something I can do.

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Kitty63, it is better to feel quilty than go against your better judgement and end up hating yourself for giving in to that quilt.
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I agree with Perseverance64. You need to build yourself up and be strong. You can’t really help anyone if you let them tear you down (through guilt) and become weak. Continue to be the loving person you are, but also love yourself. Know your limits and establish your boundaries. Good luck.
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Interesting. I'm interested that your mother says "we can't change that" in reference to your brother's failings. Actually, she can change that - or, at least, she can change the degree of impact that they have on her. You can't, though.

Your mother's demands aren't at the very extreme end of the spectrum: the trouble is that your schedule is - quite rightly - already too full to accommodate them. So she will need to look elsewhere for help, and she would need less help if *she* dealt with *her* issues. Her adoptive "second daughters" so to speak are free agents: be grateful for their input but don't feel beholden because of it.

I suppose what I'm emphasising is that at the moment your mother's issues are her issues and that's the way it should be. The power to resolve them is in her hands, which you already understand. I appreciate that you still feel bad for your mother, sorry for her problems, but you seem already to have a pretty good grip on the realities.

The realities are regrettable, but not within your power to alter. I know you have already got this. Perhaps if, every time you feel guilt, you remind yourself that what you actually feel is not guilt but regret for your mother's sorrows it might help to restore perspective.

Do you also feel angry with your mother, though? How do you feel about your late brother's relationship with the family?
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Who will end up doing the dirty work… Who do you have in mind? I hope it's not you! In fact, let it not be you. Make that resolution now. You're successfully building your own life and a decent future. Let the childhood home go, and let the people who are in it deal with it.
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As Countrymouse said, those are her problems and she can solve them if she wants to. No reason for you to take on anything.
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I have had very similar issues in my own world. Mom is now 86 with mid stage ALZ. But for the last 30 years, she has enabled my 2 drug and alcoholic sisters...one who passed 10 yrs ago and the other who has now had 2 strokes and has cancer. She has also done the same with 3 of my nieces and nephews. I worked FT until a year ago when i was forced to retire due to a company merger...it was retire after 34 years with the same company or move out of state to Arizona. I have lived with the same frustrations as you. I have learned only in the last year that i cannot control what mom decides to do...i cant change her. She refuses to do what she knows she should...say NO to those who use her for money. She finds it impossible to do...so i do what i can to help her when needed but i have to have my own life and take care of myself and my family as well. Its a matter of coming to terms with not losing yourself and your own life, and its hard to do. But unless you have POA of your mom, theres nothing else you can do. My mom is still considered competent so even though i do have POA, i must be careful when/how to use it or she could revoke it...and i need it for the future when her she loses whats left of her mind. Its a hard, frustrating, stressful thing to watch people take advantage of a parent, but you have to come to terms with what you can control and what you cant...and take care of the life YOU have been blessed with or you will look back and regret it. We just cant control other people...we canbonly do our best.
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I agree with Perseverance 64, too. Do you have a local Area Agency on Aging that you could call? They would know about hooking your mom up with home health aids, nurses, etc. Or call your mother's doctor to get Visiting Nurses to evaluate the situation, get a social worker on the scene. You can't change your mom and she doesn't have the right to expect you to pick up the pieces.
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That's a tough spot to be in and I understand any decision will come with quilt. That's just the way it is for caring and compassionate people. I think the key is to trust your decisions are coming from your heart and not the mind games we play on our self that fuel the doubt and quilt. I suspect the others know how to push that quilt button and you need to trust in your decisions. The best chance you have for others to start stepping up is for you to step back. God Bless
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Ah.

Because as long as you have POA you can't just walk away. Pity.

Though as long as your mother has capacity, you also don't have the authority to make financial decisions on her behalf.

So at the moment, as things stand, you have a whole heap of responsibility without power. Which is Not Fair.

Not that I don't respect you for being willing to stand up and be counted, but just a reminder: you can always resign POA. In your position I'd be very tempted.

How do you see things going on from here?
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Does your Mom have plenty of money and assets to last her the rest of her life? Is there a will? A Trust? Was there a lawyer who did the POA that you have? Is the POA fully invoked? In other words, is Mom competent or not competent at this point? Perhaps you are like me....only POA really for finances, but Mom is still considered competent for making her own health and other decisions? At any rate....my point is, perhaps you can arrange to get her set up with an attorney to discuss some of these things to plan for her future...especially if she doesn't have a lot of assets to support all the needs of these siblings. Getting an elder care attorney involved, means perhaps that person could be a bit of a 'bad guy' who tells her that she's going to run out of money and not be able to care for herself if she continues to let these kids take advantage of her. Perhaps there is help and housing for the son who lives with her....so he can pay his own way somewhere else? I mean, really, what is Mom going to do when she runs out of money and these needy siblings are still around needing free housing and food? Are YOU going to have to step up and take mom in after she has to sell her house in order to have money to live on? Seems, another option, if you really feel that siblings are taking advantage of Mom and leaving her in a tenuous future....is to call in Adult Protective Services to evaluate. Does the brother who lives with her get any kind of income? Does he contribute anything for his own food and housing to the pot? And how can you have financial POA and yet have no say so in how the money is spent? Seems to me, you need a long term plan to assure she can be cared for the rest of her life...and perhaps that will not be in her own home? What if she does have to have knee surgery and then would have to go into rehab for awhile for the therapy that comes after knee surgery for everyone? What if her health further fails to the point where she must be in Assisted Living or go to a nursing home? What is the plan to pay for that care? What if she need hired caregivers to come into the home for her? They will not cook or clean etc, for others who are living there....just her. If the son with her really cannot make it on his own, perhaps HE needs to get on Medicaid and find his own group home to live in for the rest of his life? If these siblings are all thinking that they just get to stay in her home the rest of their lives, all must face the fact, that before Mom dies, it's possible the house must be sold to pay for HER care and if you want a life in your own retirement years, you need to make your own NO very clear UP FRONT!! I've been there....with my own mother... this is a rough path to walk....and I don't have siblings left who are getting in the way of the plan. Only the difficult mother. But, clearly, there needs to be a plan for Mom to preserve her assets for her own care down the road.
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