Since my father died, my mom has had a hard time with emotional independence. We have a codependent family and since my father died 4 years ago and she is not a full time caregiver, she doesn't know what to do with herself and has a lot of trouble making decisions and feeling comfortable in her own life. She also is starting to struggle with self care, like eating properly. She has a lot of anxiety about things like whether to visit one of her adult children, if she should drive, if she should move (she is in a paid-for condo for retired people, but wants to move to some dumpy apartment), if there is a problem with her electrical, her car, etc. She also gets overly involved in crises related to her children, such as my sibling's health problems, etc. and literally makes herself sick over it. She is relatively physically healthy but has been getting worked up about everything.
The elephant in the room is that she is upset that one daughter never visits her because she is agoraphobic and has been angry for a long time, and one daughter never visits her because she is "too busy," but my mom would never verbalize this, and rather than confronting them, she is now having lots of crises and dramas that require hand holding by phone. In the mean time, I am the only one who visits but she gets irritated easily with me because I am straight forward...you don't feel well, go to the doctor; you have anxiety and insomnia, maybe you should see a psychiatrist; you don't like your neighbor, don't talk to her, etc. I know that sometimes people just need to talk, and I do listen, but with her it is not a normal exchange. Sometimes she is just irritable and needs to unload on someone and other times she spends a lot of time talking about how pathetic she is, when really she is pretty capable in many ways. It's hard to navigate the truth and the drama. It's all about guilt and internalized chaos. She wants to put everyone in their place and be bossy, but she doesn't. She wants help, but on her terms. She wants to control your response to her. I have asked my sisters to visit her more in person, but they think they are helping by calling her a lot and playing their roles in our unhealthy family. If she has a real anxiety problem, which she probably does, she needs professional help, but they are both just so blinded by assuaging their guilt by playing out the drama but also keeping their distance. One of my sisters is a nurse, so she considers herself an absolute authority on everything, so even after being basically absent for a year, she is now "handling it," by phone, based on her "diagnosis and knowledge of the proper treatment plan for anxiety." What? I realize I have issues with sibling rivalry and sound like a child myself, and I need to work on that, but I also need help navigating this parental care, which is only going to increase with time.