I’m brand new here. I didn’t know that such a place existed. After reading several posts and replies, I guess I hope that someone out there can at least commiserate.

I am 52. My mom is 82. A little over a year ago, I lost my house. My entire family urged me to move back home with mom. I didn’t want to, but also didn’t have many other options. Shortly after the move, mom was in a car accident. She suffered some pretty intense injuries, but has recovered. She has decided she won’t drive anymore.

Mom and I always had a very strained relationship. That’s been true my whole life. She has always felt free to say really unkind and sometimes downright mean things to me, al the way back to childhood. But since I’ve been grown, I have always been the one who called her every day and tried in some way to cheer her up. My siblings are on again off again, but I was always the one to check in on her, and now I’m the only one who takes care of her.

I am financially on my feet again, and have been for some time. I could easily buy my own house in cash! But I'm trapped here. While I absolutely appreciate the fact that neither I nor my mother have any rent or mortgage and she insists on paying all utilities, the demands are becoming something else.

Simply put, mom expects me to wait on her all day every day, and she also expects me to entertain her or keep her company constantly. I run a fairly successful small business from the garage. So I can’t sit in the living room all day like she wants me to. Because I can’t, she feels sorry for herself and constantly makes comments designed to make me feel guilty.

She is fully capable of getting up, going to the kitchen, and making a sandwich or a bowl of soup. She simply does not want to. When I walk in the door for a break from work or come downstairs if I’ve been upstairs for some reason, she always says “make me a sandwich.” Or bring me something or go down the road to get her something.

I take her to dr appointments, and put her medication organizer together every Saturday for the coming week. I get up every morning and make her a cooked breakfast, take her her meds and a glass of water, and then sit and eat with her and watch the morning news. I stop working to make lunch every day and sit and eat with her and watch a little of whatever is on TV. I stop working in the evening and make dinner, give her her evening meds and eat with her, and usually watch a couple of TV shows with her. I get her into bed nearly every night and set up her oxygen machine. Put her eye drops into her eyes. Go fetch what she wants but forgets to bring to bed with her. Stand in her room and chat with her until she’s settled.

Nothing is ever enough. I usually go back to my shop in the evenings to work on some projects or sometimes just to chat with friends on the phone or online. I go back inside later. Tonight, I went out much later and then came back in around 10:30. She’s usually engrossed in a TV show, but she was already in bed. I told her I had come inside to help, but she said “I got tired of waiting on you so I did it myself.” Always guilt.

I know that my mom is lonely when someone isn’t with her. But I’m not retired. I have a business with clients who pay me and expect me to deliver what they paid me for. Mom has absolutely no interests of any kind. That may sound like an exaggeration. But aside from TV, there is nothing. She doesn’t have any interest in reading. She doesn’t know how to use a computer (I’ve tried helping but she won’t try unless I’m there). She used to like crosswords but now she doesn’t. She doesn’t crochet or knit or sew. She basically sits in her chair all day every day waiting for me to come and sit and watch TV with her. And even then she’s almost never happy about it because I should have come in sooner and stayed in longer. It’s getting to where I dread being with her at all and can’t wait to get to my shop.

Am I the world’s most ungrateful brat, or is there some solution?

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There are many posters on this site who have been in your situation for years – 6 years, 15 years, whatever seems like a lifetime. And mother is now 90, 95, 101. Breaking up the game gets progressively harder as mother become genuinely less capable. If you don’t take steps now, you might quite likely be kissing your life goodbye.

You have a few choices, and they are about you, not about talking your mother out of this unreasonable behavior (you won’t). The softest choice is to search ‘Boundaries’ in the search window at the top right hand side of the screen. Read, think, plan and act. The next option is to search ‘Guilt’, and set out to junk any guilt for living your own life to your own priorities. After that, suggest to mother just how nice an Assisted Living facility would be, lots of help, lots of company, lots of activities, and take her to look at a few. She can sell the house, move, and enjoy herself. Then you get to the hard ones – mother, these are my needs in order to stay here. If you can’t handle this, I will have to leave.

Start on this journey now – don’t wait until it’s too late.
Helpful Answer (14)
Caro0413 Oct 2020
I have my eye on a little house. It’s about an hour away. I have told Mom that I’d like to move and that she could come with me at least some of the time. She doesn’t want to give up her house. But she thinks that means her house and what she wants is the top priority (really the only priority). Like it’s fair to ask me to give up my life completely, but it’s not fair to ask her to compromise. She even thinks I shouldn’t work, should give up my business, and should be happy with the stipend that the agency pays me.

I wonder sometimes if buying a house, her keeping her house, and then spending part of her time with me snd part of her time here would be a solution. But at 84, she’s not going to get any better.

Nobody mentions assisted living because that translates to her as nursing home, which she would never want or agree to.

I know I sound like a spoiled child. But my brother lives several states away and only calls mom when he wants money. My sister is raising her granddaughter so her hands are full. I just wonder where my life evaporated to.
Carol - your mother has no life, so she is sucking it out of you, literally.

She is responsible for her own happiness, not you. You can help her find companionship services where someone comes and sits, talks, plays games, watches tv with her, and makes her a sandwich. When things open back up again, she can join a senior center so she can make friends and be with her peers.

To answer your question, no, you're not ungrateful. You can help her by making sure she gets what she needs. It doesn't have to be you who provides it.
Helpful Answer (10)
Caro0413 Oct 2020
I’m going to ask the local senior center if they can help find an occasional companion for her. I think that is a great idea. 🙂

So happy for you that after losing your house, in a little over a year you are financially on your feet again, and can buy your own house in cash!

Maybe you should do that?
Helpful Answer (8)
mally1 Oct 2020
Oh, I absolutely agree.... it won't get better.
You should be moving out now and living on your own with your own home, your own bills, your own job, your own children. You should visit your Mother at a time when you both can enjoy the visit, and be what support to her you choose to be.
Thank her for being there when you needed the support and helping you get back on your own feet.
As to guilt, that belongs to felons who do malice aforethought for the delight of hurting others. It is not your intention to hurt your Mom, but you are doing so and robbing her of the independence she needs to make her feel whole. It is her own business what she prefers to do, crochet or watch TV.
It is not a matter of being ungrateful. It's a matter of being an adult with a right to her own life.
All of this is said assuming that your mother is mentally and physically capable of doing her own care. She may not be. In that case you should still seek out living your own life again; Mom may need to enter a LTC facility for safety either now or in the future.
You suggest that saying you wish now to have your own life in your own home makes you a spoiled brat. On the contrary. It makes you a grownup. It is what most grownups do want.
Remember, if you choose to stay with your Mom that honestly isn't her fault. It is your choice. You can be a kind and loving daughter, but still feather your OWN nest.
Wishing you good luck in getting your life back.
Helpful Answer (8)

Wow. Lots to unpack here!

You say you "had no other choice" but to live with her. Fair enough. But now you're able to break free, you say you're "trapped". Then if/when you do move, you want Mom to stay around most of the time. If you want to keep her around, why move at all? Do you really want to keep her around because you enjoy her company, or do you feel guilty for having your own place again, and having her around makes you feel better?

I get the feeling you've been the family scapegoat your whole life. Mom treated you the worst, yet Mom and your siblings expect you to be the one who sacrifices her life for Mom. All the work is thrown on you and you're expected to just take it. You keep doing for her when you know she doesn't need it. Why?

She will not change. She will never give you the "I love you" you've wanted your whole life. She will never be grateful. She will never see the error of her ways. She will never see you as a loving daughter. You have a hole in your heart that she made a long time ago, and unfortunately it will never be filled. Not by her, anyway. It's a hard thing to come to terms with, but you need to find fulfillment somewhere else.

You are actually harming her by staying around and enabling her helplessness. She won't bother making her own lunch, because she can guilt you into it. Eventually she'll expect you to help with toilet things, bathe her, etc. even if she's still capable. In her eyes, you're still the child she can boss around. This will never end until you end it.

Find a house, meet with a realtor, and start your plans to move. Then you tell Mom "I've bought a house and will be moving out on [date]. If you need to be driven somewhere, let me know." Can still call her; you're just moving to a home, not cutting ties.

She will probably be mad or upset. This is another guilt tactic. Ignore the "you're a terrible daughter, you're leaving me, I'm helpless here" and stand firm. Keep in mind that she is not being mad and upset because she will miss you. It's because she is losing her maid/cook/servant.
Helpful Answer (7)

Please call Council on Aging in your area. Explain that she needs help and that you must work and cannot be there to assist her when needed. They will do light housekeeping and prepare light meals as well.

In my area there is a shuttle bus to transport elders to doctor appointments. Check and see if that is available for her.

The aide will be company for her. They will play card games or perhaps work on a puzzle with her to pass the time.

I would buy your home. Can she afford to pay for additional help if she doesn’t qualify for C on A?

Best wishes to you and your mom.
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Caro0413 Oct 2020
She is registered, but the help they assigned was me. I receive a stipend, which I have tried many times to stop. I feel awful receiving money for doing what I would do anyway. Based on her income, she qualifies for two and a half hours of help 5 days per week. Because I live here, the family thought it was better for me to do this than have someone else because she basically gets a lot more care from me than she would from the agency. But in retrospect, that’s probably not true. I would still live here and still do what I do for her, plus she would have another person coming daily as well.

Mom isn’t nearly as unable as she likes to act. That sounds so mean. And I do love my mother. But she milks it in every way. My sister and I have talked many times about how it seems like mom has been waiting her whole life to be waited on hand and foot.

I may call the agency and ask them to replace me so mom can have another person every weekday. Something that small might lift her spirits.
You should move out. AND move your Mother into Assisted Living where there are MANY people to talk to/friends to be made !! The facility provides 24/7 care and activities.
Helpful Answer (6)

I don’t know how to help you but I’m in a similar situation. My mom has esld and actually quit drinking so she isn’t mean, but caring for her is an all day affair. Today I had to be gone most of the day and came home to quite a guilt trip. I don’t mind being home with my mom (and grandma) but Sometimes I do have to leave and want to leave!

If either of you have the money I recommend hiring someone to come for a few hours a day- I don’t have money for that but I certainly would
if it made financial sense. I’m on the verge of losing my job- because even though they are being flexible with time and location, I still can’t seem to deliver. Paying someone while I work doesn’t pencil
I think it all comes down to boundaries. You make them and they break them- just be persistent and consistent.
Helpful Answer (5)
Caro0413 Oct 2020
Boundaries are tough. If I try to set boundaries, she pulls the dementia card. I can’t help but think it’s less dementia (She has never been diagnosed with dementia) and more pity party because she’s clear enough when she wants to be. She has just always had a knack for getting out of everything that she didn’t want to do, and guilt tripping everyone around her into doing things for her.

I was born into a family of master manipulators. My friends often swear that I was adopted because I’m the only one who doesn’t resort to passive aggressive (or downright aggressive) behavior to get what I want. I just want everyone to be kind and get along.

Moving back into my mother’s house, I became a 52 year old child. Her house, her rules, of course. But she expects me to not need to earn a living and just sit with her all day long every day. I have absolutely no life of my own. I haven’t had any sort of social thing in over a year. I never leave this place unless I’m on an errand for her. * sighs * yep. I’m whining now.
Posters have offered great solutions here. You are not ungrateful. You helped your mom, did an excellent job and now it’s time to move on. You deserve a life of your own. This is not a form of selfishness. This is normal human growth and development. Somewhere along the line, you developed some false guilt. A line from the movie Shaw Shank Redemption keeps coming to mind....” You can get busy living... or you can get busy dying...” You have a lot to offer yourself and the world. It’s easy to totally “lose yourself” while being the constant caregiver, but you need to start nurturing yourself and rediscovering who you are. You are probably worried about “others” will say. Well, they certainly didn’t offer to move in with your mother! Make a list... and take action. You can do this.
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I think you know you aren’t an ungrateful brat. Why would you even say so? You can stop this pattern any time you want. Seems you have a bit of the martyr in you also. Stop accommodating your perfectly healthy mother and get on with your life. You are enabling her laziness and you know it. She is the one who should be preparing meals for you. Tell her so. Do the shopping if she no longer drives and tell her from now on, she will be preparing and serving the meals. You are obviously getting a benefit you don’t really wish to give up by living there and she is getting the benefit of your company. That’s the quid pro quo. I don’t think you really want to move out. My suggestion is that you stop with the victim nonsense and change things immediately. If your mom doesn’t do it, move out. If you stay there, pay your half of everything. There is an element of exploitation in this relationship both ways. What you are after is a partnership since neither of you seem to have any real outside interests, friendships or relationships with relatives or significant others.
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