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Dad died Nov 2012. Since then, she has moved in with my husband and I in our home. She and Dad had an extremely co-dependent relationship. One would do nothing without the other. They had no outside interests, just lived attached to one another. Now, mother wants me to share that co-dependent life w/her. Since leaving home and marrying in 1968, I have become an independent person even though I love my husband. My husband and I have now been married 45 years and feel our relationship is normal. My husband is resenting my mother's constant pull on me. She wants to know where I am at all times even in the house. If I go to the store without her, she will pace the floor until I return. I guess she doesn't know how to live independent of another person and that person is now me. I am disabled having undergone 5 spinal surgeries in the last 8 years and am in constant excruciating pain. Physically, she is in better shape than I am. We used all our money on caregivers for my dad. She refused to put him in a nursing home (he had Alzheimers) and he died bedridden with 24/7 private paid help. So we have no funds to place her anywhere else. I don't think she would go anyhow. She had a fit when I casually mentioned it. The care she requires on a daily basis is meals, help dressing, and bathing. We have to watch her carefully on her walker as she is a high fall risk. How do I break the pattern of her constant smothering of me? So far, there have been times when she has been ridiculous about what I'm doing or where I am and I've had to get almost ugly with her to get her to let me have some of my life back. It is a constant battle and I feel caught in the middle. I love her and want to do what's right, but am totally frustrated with her, Thank you for any help you might give.

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I agree with Kathy. You could use the ongoing help of a therapist or at least a co-dependency group. If your community is large enough, there should be a group to give you support.

If you like to read, Melody Beattie's books on co-dependency are fascinating and very helpful. No addiction is necessary to benefit. She helps people realize that they are as important as other people and that boundaries are healthy.
Good luck,
Carol
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Therapy is the answer. For you, not her, you will only break this cycle with professional help.
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This really can't be solved via a forum. With that said, you MUST draw boundaries, be strong, and take action. This will seem very foreign to you and will cause pain for you and your Mom as you have fallen prey to her behavior all your life. You are not created to solve her problems and meet her needs. She needs to learn to respect other people's boundaries and space. Tell her you love her, but you need to have space. Period. It will hurt initially - but it will get so much better - and you both will discover a freedom unknown before - if allowed.
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Mimi, I was just going to write to vent similar frustrations I have with my dad. My father is 87, deaf, arthritic, asthmatic with COPD and has vision issues as well. He lives with me and my family and had managed to maintain independence by driving. Unfortunately, I had to take those privileges away due to his deteriorating vision. Now he thinks we are joined at the hip. He is driving me crazy, constantly pacing looking for me, he opens the door to check if my car is in the driveway (I often sneak out because I don't want to explain every move I make or take him with me EVERYWHERE). Also, I am just plain tired of narrating my life to him. He can't hear so I have to repeat everything or write it down. Now he can't see well so even that is a problem. I recently found a car service that he can rent by the hour so he can reclaim some independence. He has gone out with them a few times, but is not happy about paying the $35/hour when he feels I should be happy to take him out whenever he wants to go for free. Basically, I think both you and I are tired, frustrated and just plain want our lives back. I am tired of constantly having to address my father's needs. I have two brothers who are sympathetic, but not hands on helpful. My husband and sons are becoming resentful as well. I am in the same place as you in that although my dad has income, it won't cover assisted living, nor does he want to go and I don't know if I could live with the guilt if I force him out. Mentally he is fine. It is just that he is sucking the fun, joy and life out of my life. I don't see much in the way of a solution, just being able to set some boundaries and forums like this for us to commiserate are helpful.
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Wow, Mimi I felt smothered just reading your post! All above suggestions are valuable, and I would also like to suggest that you send her to an adult day care (I believe they are free) center (whether she likes it or not) to give both you and your husband some respite. You or your husband (the one she is least likely to argue with) could drive there and initially spend at least an hour with her until she gets comfortable with the people and activities. Ideally, she will then have something other than herself to focus on after she gets home - hopefully being able to engage her in relating her experiences of the day. Before long, she may agree to use the bus pick-up service that these centers provide. No matter what, you have to start setting boundaries in that you cannot live your life the way she lived hers. It is very hard, but you have to literally insist on your personal time and that you cannot/will not spend every minute of your day with her. You have not indicated that she is in dementia, so discussions like this should eventually sink in. Then you literally have to practice what you say until she realizes you mean business. I think you and hubby should go out by yourselves for a little while every day, even if it's just a walk around the block. Perhaps you can ask a neighbor or other family member to watch her (or take her) for that short time, and then maybe progress to hiring someone to 'Elder-sit' as a 'companion' for her one evening a week, so you and hubby can get some respite and 'reconnect'. I hope these suggestions are helpful and not too idealistic.
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The adult daycare is a good idea, but if your mom is as private as mine is, she may not go. I have started saying 'ok, now this is something that you can do yourself, so you need to do this and I will help with so and so."
She doesn't like it, but I am trying to stay firm. I have been the fixer upper since childhood, so I know how difficult this is to deal with. Getting her out of the house is the best thing if possible, and if you could get a counselor to meet with her and advocate for you, it would be even better. If she has any friends in the nursing home or still at home, taking her there to visit privately for a while would give you a bit of breathing room also. Good luck!
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