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I moved to another state to help her.


My first home was a joint application for her since she couldn’t get a place on her own. (After her divorce)


Now she has a lung disease, trying to get her in a lung transplant program. She was already dropped from one program, myself and my sister both almost lost our jobs (FMLA has been exhausted) trying to get her to her appointments. Mom doesn’t drive anymore. My sister and I don’t have support from any family members.


And to top it all off, she isn’t nice or appreciative. She says “that’s what family is suppose to do” she won’t use grocery delivery services “those are for people with no families.”


She also doesn’t pay her portion of bills, which my sister and I then have to stress about and come up with money.


At what point do I start living for myself? I’m nearing 40, no friends, no dating life. Working 2 jobs.

"At what point do I start living for myself?"

When you decide to set boundaries. No one else can do that for you.
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Reply to SnoopyLove
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SusanW56 Jan 4, 2019
What SnoopyLove says sounds harsh but she is 100% right!

If you are not even 40 yet and been taking care of her for 10 years already!!?? It sounds like it’s time for all 3 of you (you, sis, & mom) to up those big-girl-panties and work together at finding a new place for mom. She can get assistance thru SSI and Medicaid, and you can still be around to take her to appointments, shopping, or just visiting.

Boundaries are are a good thing!! ... and I need to take my own advice 🙋‍♀️
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The answer to that is "10 years ago".

NOBODY should be living their life for someone else. You parents are not stupid, they are kind of crafty and manipulative.

Sounds like they need to be living in an ALF or SNF---and you can "help out" as you choose fit to do. (Personally, I wouldn't visit more than twice a week--and spell out the other days with other sibs/willing family).

If/When she has the lung transplant--having gone through a liver transplant with DH--I can tell you it was a 4 months of hell--24/7 care, no "help" really, all my kids HAD kids, and he was so immunosuppressed--he couldn't be around anyone.

You WILL have to quit working to take care of her at home if she's still living there.

I laughed at the comment that grocery delivery is for people with no families---My daughters with kiddoes at home all use online shop/delivery. They LOVE it.

Sounds like it's past time for mom and dad to face reality and move to a better environment. You won'e be abandoning them--you'll be enabling them to have a better QOL.

But--they won't see it that way--so good luck!
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Reply to Midkid58
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The answer is never, as long as you keep putting yourself last. Some parents
are selfish, entitled and exploitative. They will think nothing of draining EVERY
resource from their own children, while bad mouthing them and complaining
to all who will listen. This of course is to cover their tracks when their adult
child wakes up to the con. It is a con. Plain and simple. You have to discern
what is necessary and what is not. And what you are willing and able to do
while still living your own life.

The harsh truth is that narcissistic entitled people will think nothing of literally
killing you by exhaustion or leaving you penniless by their incessant demands.
They will continue to play the victim to your "selfishness and failures", both
during your life and after. This is the deal. Do you accept?
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bettina Jan 3, 2019
Just wanted to clarify, what I meant by con. Adult children of narcissists often are plagued by wanting to "get it right" to achieve that mythical state of having a happy, healthy, harmonious, and even loving relationship with their parent. Narc parents are well aware of this and exploit this very natural desire on the part of their adult children to avail themselves to money, services, status, etc . (being waited on hand and foot by adult children is the ultimate status for many Narc parents-- they in turn lord this over those parents who are less fortunate)

By complaining, playing victim, gaslighting, slandering, etc. they expertly keep their adult children on a never ending hamster wheel of effort. Threatening to withdraw whatever scraps of parental love that they are judiciously drip feeding their hapless children, keeps them at their Quixotic efforts for years, even decades.


I've even overheard some narcissistic seniors laugh and gloat over their adult children straining and sacrificing to please them. Many are kind and charming to strangers. Even quite loving. The pain caused to the adult child acting as their parents personal servant is excruciating as they are often given only the mere glimpse of parental love and most often ridicule and disappointment or contempt and even outright abuse for their efforts. It's the ultimate con in a way and a very nasty one.

You can help a demanding narcissistic parent, but first make sure you know exactly where they end and you begin. And also that you have people in your life that appreciate and cherish you. If you don't, begin with yourself. It's the only way to step off that hamster wheel of unrelenting (and often unnecessary) demands and begin to live your life. Good luck!!!!
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Grocery delivery services are also for hard-pressed workers who don't have time to run their mothers' errands, you know. I should feel free to use them if I were you.

Except that's a side issue really, isn't it.

Ten years ago, your mother divorced (whose idea was that?) and you and your sister made yourself jointly responsible for her welfare going forward.

Why? Not so much, why did you and your sister want to help your newly-divorced mother; more, why was your mother happy to surrender this responsibility to young women in their twenties?

Who is your mother living with now, you or your sister (or both of you, I suppose)?
How old is your mother?
What is her prognosis a) with or b) without a lung transplant?
How were things before the divorce? - did you girls get away to college, start careers, usual things?
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Reply to Countrymouse
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TheEnabler: I, too, had to leave my home, life, family, church family and pets to move in with my late mother into her home in another state. She left me no choice and I told her that. Your mom said "This is what family is suppose [sic] to do." Well, we tried many options for my mom's living conditions and she said "I'm so glad I stayed in my own home." Yes, but at what expense? Plenty! I did the caregiving, while almost an elder myself! So I don't advocate an elder expecting their kids to take care of them. I'm with you on that! You start living your life when YOU say YOU do. Even my own sibling said he would NOT do the caregiving duty.
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Reply to Llamalover47
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Perhaps you are finding yourself at a crossroad in your life. The questions that you should ask yourself is, if I am I my death bed looking over my life, what would be my regrets; what would I be proud of, and is there anything I would do differently? Now, I realize our regets are most of the time things we don't see until it is to late! However, there are the few things in life we know if I don't have or do xyz I will reget it. So, what is important to you? Having family, traveling, or just knowing you took care of mom in her time of need? What price are you willing to pay to take care of mom? No one can tell you that today is the day you take back your life, nor can someone tell you that you can take back your life in a year and a half. But I will tell you this, if you are and have been giving everything to your mom's care, and you have nothing for yourself such as, a partner, your own family, or whatever it is for you the price you are paying is to high!

In my own life, I have come to realize that I am out of balance that I am putting everybody and everything before me. Well, not anymore! I am in the process of moving things around and changing somethings like taking a few hours out to write. I have told everybody between these hrs leave me alone, you better be dying to bother me! I think you get my point! Find what is important to you and make a decision! Yes, this is easier said than done!

Good luck!
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Reply to Shell38314
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Set boundaries. Start your own life right now. Suggestions: Offer one day, or half day, per week to take your mother on errands, or do the errands yourself. Use home delivery services for groceries, medications (Walgreens offers free home delivery), and other shopping needs - many grocery stores and pharmacies have free home delivery, or low annual fee with free home delivery if the purchase is $35 or more (depends on the store), use transportation services (call-a-ride, senior transportation services, medical ride services, etc). If your mother refuses to use these services, then that is HER choice. However, you can make it clear that YOU are NOT the alternative. The alternative may be going without.
In my own situation, I have suggested all of these possibilities and my mother refuses even the free home delivery of her medications. I told her that's her choice, but my brother or someone else will have to do those errands. My brother is now doing them all. Even he refuses to take advantage of the home delivery services. I won't drive her anywhere unless someone else is in the car with us - otherwise she will make nasty, insulting, demeaning, comments to me (usually in a shrill, snide voice). I have offered, many times, to take her on errands one day a week (Friday was the best day for me due to my work schedule), but she refused to make those plans and stated "what if I don;t want to go on that day?" My response: "then someone else will have to take you".
Good luck. I know from my own experience that it is very hard to start setting boundaries and sticking to them. But, in the end, you will begin to have your own life.
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Reply to guiltandanger
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When one reaches a point where life feels just like a burden and almost empty, it is a wake up call.

Being an only child I chose to make many changes in my life to care for my mom, including moving to another country, so talk about basically quitting who you are. I’m 46 now and have been here with her for over two years. It is the hardest thing I have done in so many ways, but if I had to make the decision again, I would do the same thing. What I get in return is a gift called peace of mind.

But what I don’t think is right on any count is that you have absolutely no life. I think (and hope I’m right) your sister and you can greatly benefit from more structure, organization and a very needed and urgent reality check. The reality check includes things like establishing if realistically you could take care of your mom after her lung transplant while keeping your jobs. It also implies asking yourselves if you can continue paying those bills she is not (she cannot, or she doesn’t have the means?) without hurting your own fianances -savings are very important and necessary; you both will also be elderly one day, savings are necessary-; a reality check also implies asking yourself if you are ok with not getting married or having kids? That is a BIG question, you need to answer to yourself.

Once one starts the caregiving journey it is so easy to get into a task oriented life (going from one task to the other) without looking at the big picture and planning for the big picture, not just the right now.

I don’t think having your own life and caring for your mom have to be necessarily two divorced objectives, specially because you at least have a sister willing to take on her part. Maybe you both have gotten to this point because you didn’t really plan things from the beginning and just started taking care of each fire that presented itself with your mom.

My best advice for you is to really think about your priorities, your non-negotiables (for example, a non negotiable could be finding a significant other or financial stability, or a career). Then, once you know what is YOUR big picture, seat down with your sister and go back to the white board, start looking at what is happening now, versus what you need to see happening in order to incorporate your big picture to the overall big picture. Consider the ‘what could happen’ as you look into the future and your mom’s needs as she gets older or sicker. Then together with your sister come up with a plan to make the necessary changes, distributing the load the best way you guys can, and also sticking to the plan as much as possible.

A tiny example of what I would do could be to order the groceries online yourself, when they get to the house just say to your mom that this helps you and your sister a great deal and that if there is anything in particular she needs the next time to let you know to include it. This is an easy way to start doing what is necessary, helpful and causes NO harm to your mom. Don’t engage in arguments with your mom, you are an adult, you made a decision that helps everybody, no reason to argue.

You May think I’m analyzing this as if it was so easy to make things happen as they are written on a piece of paper, I know it is not easy, but I think you will greatly benefit from acknowledging where you are in your life and also acknowledging where and how you need to change. Even if you cannot stick to the plan 100%, you will have a clearer perspective of the situation and that gives peace of mind. The sensation of order and having some level of control always brings some peace.

Good luck!
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Reply to Rosses003
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saranewman22 Jan 9, 2019
I think you gave one of the most well thought out, and well written answers I have ever read regarding caring for a parent. It almost made me cry it was so spot on. As an only child, I too, cared for my mother with severe Altzheimer's disease and two broken (repaired) hips. I went from fire to fire just trying to handle one day at a time. Then I had a major reaction to medication during a routine hospital procedure, and to make a long story short, my Mom & I both ended up in a hospital emergency room at two different hospitals on the same day at the same time. I knew then she had to go to an assisted living facility. Best decision I ever made. They cared for her in ways I could never have dreamed of. She needed professional care. I wish I would have read your beautiful advice when I was going through my journey of care giving. It would have changed almost everything. Make a plan for YOURSELF is absolutely correct. Today, I feel like I lost 9 years of the best years of my life. I wish that on nobody. Make a plan to take care of your own dreams & goals and also an elder care plan. Do not miss out of YOUR own life.
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When you learn how to say "NO" and mean it. Though I struggle with this myself I know how hard it can be, so do as I say, not as I do.

ONLINE shopping/delivery etc. is a GODSEND!
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Reply to Cherrysoda
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When I read stuff like this it make me angry, at you, not your mother. I am probably your mother's age and in complete control of my faculties. When I raised my children, all 5, I was never selfish, they always came first. However, they were not spoiled. I changed their diapers frequently, I played with them, I coached them, got them to their games on time, and went to every game. I was fortunate to have my mom for 97 1/2 years. In her last 2 1/2 months of life I was with her 24/7. I slept with her, I fed her, I bathed her. I would give anything to have her back and do it for another 20 years.
Now I do not mean to put you down to much, but some people are just born "caregivers" and have compassion, others are not.
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meness Jan 5, 2019
Of course she doesn't have children. She has been taking care of her mom since she was 30 and doesn't date. Also, taking care of someone who is 95 24/7 is a hell of a lot different than taking on care for someone who is in their 50s and won't do what she can to take care of herself. Don't be so judgy.
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