How should I deal with my mom constantly finding fault with the way I take care of my grandmother?

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Two years ago, I moved in with my 91 year old grandmother. I moved to another county, over an hour away from my boyfriend, and all my friends and my life. I not only help her, I contribute financially. Before I moved in, I came down twice a week or more to take her shopping, and to doctor appointments and stuff like that. I've been doing this for about ten years. During all this time, my mother (my Nana's daughter) has come here roughly once every five or six weeks for a couple of hours. She praises me for doing a good job but at the same time, she also "expresses concerns" and "makes suggestions". It feels a lot like criticism to me. I try not to let it bother me but it does. I have been doing so much for so long and she breezes in here, glances around, and forms an opinion. She thinks she is always right. She finds problems and to her, they are a huge emergency that has to be dealt with immediately. She is really bossy and controlling. She expects me to keep this house perfectly...but her own home can be "lived in" and that's fine. This was no problem when she was only here every five or six weeks. But recently she has been spending more time here, even sleeping over. She said she wanted to help out, and I believe that's true, but part of the reason is she is having problems with her husband and wants to get away. So...I did everything to make her comfortable. I even got cable TV in "her" room. At first I enjoyed being able to go out without having to rush back to Nana. But now she is really getting on my nerves. I was a home health aid for five years. I have been living here for two, and helping out for longer.. My grandmother is happy with the care she receives, but my mom doesn't trust my judgement at all and If I disagree with any of her "suggestions" (demands) she can get downright nasty and abusive. I usually just give in because its easier, but sometimes I wont and she literally throws a fit. She doesn't fight fair. She says mean, offensive things, calls me names, and raises her voice and curses me out when she feels I am challenging her authority. If I respond in kind it just escalates the situation. Now she is saying things like this is HER house, HER mother, and she is on a mission to prove she can call the shots. She implies that I am mooching off of Nana, even though I contribute financially in addition to all I do for her! (does she understand how much it would cost if she had to PAY some one to do what I do for free? Its so unfair. My mom is planning on coming more often in the future. I hope she changes her mind. I am dreading it. I am so tired of hearing her insinuate that I am neglecting my grandmother. She has scrutinized every single aspect of our lives. There is no end to the things she can find wrong. She points them out in the sweetest way but still...this isn't normal. I am 51 years old, competent, reliable, and have sound judgement. I don't want to live like this. I want to relax and be myself again. To be perfectly honest, Nana's hygiene isn't the greatest, but that's not my fault. Nor does it mean I am neglecting her. My way is to coax, manipulate, convince her if I can..When she was growing up she only bathed once a week. I disagree with that, but Nana has rights, including the right to refuse to shower. The latest thing is she wants to get a home health aid to come in and force Nana to shower. Now....I would love to have some help, but Nana is pretty feisty. I feel bad for the home health aid! Plus, I am able to bathe her. Just not as often as my mom would like me to. I told her that, and reminded her that I was a home health aid for five years, and she replied "Yes, but I want to get someone really good,". as though I am really bad or something. I didn't respond to that remark....I doubt she even realizes how hurtful it was. Also, she just informed us that she is coming back to accompany us to my grandmothers next doctor appointment. (probably to observe all the mistakes I make, or to ask a bunch of questions about what else I should be doing that I am not).

Any suggestions about how I could diffuse the situation with my mom? I don't expect anyone will be able to help...I am really just venting. If my mom wants to come here and make my life hell, there is nothing I can do about it short of moving out, and there is no way I would leave my grandmother. She needs me and wants me here. I know she is trying to help... but she is driving me nuts. I am in a constant state of anxiety when she is here. I bit my nails down to the nubs.

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@Debralee That is very good advice. I do try to go out when she is here. In fact, I went out for the entire day today. In the future, I am going to work on getting her to tell me (warn me) when she is planning on coming and how long she is going to stay. Its kind of hard to make plans at the last minute, but if I knew a couple of days ahead of time to expect her, I would definitely make plans. The way things are now, she tells me like..the day before, or a couple of hours before she comes, and I barely have time to get the house clean enough before she arrives. But thats an improvement because there was a time she would just show up unexpectedly or call when she was already halfway here. My grandmother enjoys my moms visits for awhile, but then she gets tired and she starts asking me "Is she going home soon?" and "How long is she going to stay?" .
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What is holding you back from hiring extra help? Make sure you do it, not your mother. Why not take the opportunity to go out and do what you want to do when your mother is there? Your mother is definately a control freak and obviously has no life other than to drive you crazy. All I can recommend is to become POA for your grandmother and then you can legally limit the amount of time your mother comes to visit. Do you really want your grandmother in the middle of you and your mother's clashes? What is your grandmother's imput into this situation? You cannot be a loving caregiver to your grandmother and a daughter trying to pacify a narcisstic controling mother at the sametime.
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tell your mom to put up or shut up. that is, she can either move in and do the whole thing and you are out, or she can just SHUT HER MOUTH. as long as you and your grandma are happy, your mother has no business butting in. your mother is behaving as a classic narcissistic mother.
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If they're set in their ways - like your mom has always been emotionally abusive since the beginning of your life - it's not going to change now. Sorry, my father is the same with me. I could never do anything right. I need to keep my mouth shut because I know nothing (about every subject that we talk about - I'm a dummy, or ignorant, or stupid..get the drift???) Only the male species are smarter than women (hence me, a 41 year old, have to call my 16 yr old nephew to drop by and remark that grandma looks bad and maybe needs to go to the ER..worked like a charm..I was able to get mom to the ER....)

I have stayed home and helped him with mom for about 25 years. He Always Said that he did the most in caring for mom. Yes, he did. But I did the most of the dirty job (showering her when she was able to stand and changing pampers.) He's recently became bedridden 2 years ago. And I grit my teeth as he goes on and on how HE did most of the caregiving. This year, the toll of working full time, taking over the night shifts (to suction mom throughout the nights) and weekends (when I'm off) has finally affected me. I've been blacking out and weaving from exhaustion. Sometimes, when I come out of my blackouts, he's staring at me with fear. I had stood there for 10minutes! Only THEN, he started saying that I have been doing the heavy caregiving for mom all these years. All he did was watch and feed her. But that was temporary. He's back to his "men know more than women - so listen to me" attitude. So, I don't think you're mom is going to change any time soon....
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Thank you for your responses. Eventually I will try talking to her about it, but I doubt it will do any good. She is emotionally abusive. She has been this way all my life, since I was a little kid so I dont expect she willl change now. It does help knowing that other people understand how I feel, so thank you for that.
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The emotional abuse article is the one marked World of Psychology.
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Oh, I so relate, Qweensgambit. There's nothing my mother enjoys more than reminding me how I'm mooching off her. The only thing she provides to me are the two rooms my rabbits and I stay in. They certainly do devalue the work that caregivers do. I think I would be tempted in your situation to tell your mother she could take over the caregiving and you will get on with your life. But I know you love your grandmother, so want to make sure she is taken care of.

I've never been able to figure out how to handle my mother when she is critical, so don't have any good advice. I just wanted to say that you're not alone. I know how you feel in being devalued. If you get a chance, google "signs of emotional abuse." There is a source that is excellent is describing the sign and symptoms of emotional abuse. It will give you a lot a insight into the devaluing remarks that are made. If the remarks make you feel small, they are abusive. The article may help you zero in on what your mother is doing.
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Mom is feeling bad that she is not doing the care, so by "supervising" you she feels like she is doing something, and I'd bet dollars to donuts she's oblivious to how critical she is really being. Can you TELL her, "Mom...you don't realize it, but all the criticism you are dishing out every time you come around is hurting my heart. I am 51 years old, competent, reliable, and have sound judgement. I don't want to live like this. I want to relax and be myself again, and when I live in fear of what you are going to find fault with next, I can't! How about just biting your tongue, NO CRITICISM at all for oh, let's say a whole week...and then if things get worse because you aren't picking on me, you can go back to it?" (Does your mom have a sense of humor at all??)
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