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She's 88-yrs-old and blames everybody for her problems. She says that her housekeeper cut her bushes too short and killed them when actually she went away and they weren't watered. I live 30 miles away and help take care of my severely autistic grandson several days a week yet I go there once a week unless I can't. But she accuses me of going every other week, that I don't care. She has always put herself 1st and if it weren't for my grandmother, we would have been neglected. Now she expects me to dote on her and I resent it. I'll soon be 65 and in pain much of the time. I often neglect my husband and house to go down there. I'm sick of this but morally obligated. Thank you all for listening. Any advice?

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So I thought I gave a response to your answer about "Sand boy". Here's my response about Riley.
Life of Riley....
I found two different origins for that expression:

Meaning: An easy and pleasant life.

Origin
The phrase originated with the Irish/American soldiers in the US Army during WWI. The first known citation is in a letter from a Private Walter J. Kennedy, stationed at Camp Dix, New Jersey, which was published in The Syracuse Herald on 29th June 1918. The piece was headed "Great Life, Writes Soldier at Camp":
"This is surely one great life." writes Kennedy. "We call it the life of Riley. We are having fine eats, are in a great detachment and the experience one gets is fine."
Later that year, on 22nd October, The Bridgeport Telegram published a letter from Private Samuel S. Polley, 102 Regiment, stationed in France.
"They [German officers] must have led the life of Reilly as we caught them all asleep in beds..."
Who Riley (or Reilly, or Reiley) was isn’t clear. If he had been a known individual then it surely would have been recorded. The lack of any such records points to the name being chosen as that of a generic Irishman, much as Paddy is used now.
The phrase may have been brought to America by Irish immigrants, although there’s no known use of it in Ireland prior to 1918, or, more likely, it originated in the Irish community in the USA. It reached the wider public via the 1919 song by Howard Pease - My name is Kelly:
Faith and my name is Michael K.,
but I’m living the life of Reiley just the same.

phrases.uk/
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

The second one that I found said:

Origin

The name Riley is of Irish and Gaelic origin. It means Valiant and Courageous.

The meaning behind the name Riley begins when the name originally appeared in Gaelic as O’Raghailligh, which means descendant of Raghallach.

Living the Life of Riley

Living the Life of Riley" suggest an ideal life of prosperity and contentment, possibly living on someone else’s money, time or work. Rather than a negative freeloading or gold digging aspect, it instead implies that someone is kept or advantaged. This expression was popular in the 1880s a time when James Whitcomb Riley’s Poems depicted the comforts of a prosperous home life, but it could have an Irish origin: After the Riley clan consolidated its hold on country caravan, they minted their own money accepted as legal tender even in England. These coins called O’Rileys and Reillys became synonymous with a monied person and a gentleman freely spending was "living on his Reillys".
I like the 2nd answer the best.
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Country mouse. ..I'm so glad you cleared this up for me. Is everybody on this board from England?
There was a TV show called "The Life Of Riley". I don't know if that's where the saying came from. But I'll do the research since you so kindly did it for me.
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Mom passed away March 12. My dad had already isolated the both of them before she passed away. Well, even before she was diagnosed last year. Unless, my mom saw someone at Walmart or at the rare visit to a restaurant, she didn't see her friends because the past couple years, she didn't even have a car. I'm wondering now about a lot of things that happened over the years and why. My dad was eight years Older than my mom, so I'm sure he thought he was going to go first. With diagnosis of ovarian cancer in stage 4, I prepared for what I knew was going to happen, but they didn't. It also did not help that they would not educate themselves about the disease or treatment. I am very sure that they both thought that chemo was like penicillin. You took it and it cured you without too much trouble.
Anyway, thanks to my mom, my dad does have a large support base. people visit every week, some of them every day. My Uncle, my mom's brother is a Methodist pastor and he visits everyday, but if my uncle knew what my dad said about him behind his back, I'm not so sure that would happen. Neighbors bring in food and sit for a while. People invite him to go places, and he doesn't accept the invitations because he says he can't go without my mom now or because people drink or smoke or cuss, etc and that's not being good Christians. His favorite saying now is, that it's nice to have everyone around, but it's not the same as my mom's company and he will say that to you too. I find myself calling people and apologizing for his attitude and the rude things he says or might say.
As for the guilt trip, I know he feels that we should take him in or we should move in there. he says he can't live in the house anymore, but can't bear to sell it. Like I said, he is in great health all the way around, financially too, but wants someone to take care of him like my mom did. When I visit, I cook, clean the house, etc. My dad sits and reads the paper while I do all that. He has even wanted me to wear my mom's clothes and has called me by her name a couple of times. I've reminded him that I'm his daughter and not his wife. My brother and I have long since made our own homes and cannot move back there. I have my family here with my husband's family and a job prospect back in TX. My brother lives in southern VA and they both work too. And we have our own friends that we go out with. My friends get criticized too and my dad always asks me why I do things with them. Like I said, I see some similarities now with how my mom and dad interacted and how he's treating me. I know it's because he's of a different generation and back then, women did everything for their men and now he doesn't have that. I am the only women he knows now and so, I guess he's chosen me to replace my mother. I feel like I'm supposed to drop everything and everyone here at my home and go down there to live with him because that's what he wants. My mom would be very, very angry if she knew how he was behaving and treating people. She was the exact opposite.
Thanks for your reply. It's really hard for me to deal with him and his meanness at times as I have a tendency to "fight back" when being bossed around or being spoken to rudely. I remember now, several arguments between my mom and dad about stuff as mom would fight back when she was younger. As she got older, she sort of lost her spunk or maybe just decided to put up with it. I can't do that as I don't have to deal with that with my husband.
I've tried to talk my dad into counseling, but he says that the hospice nurse that visits him every two weeks (they still check on him too), says that he is still in the grieving process and she is probably right. It's his awful attitude that I'm thinking is NOT part of the grief. I'm quite sure, he thought this way all his life and now that my mom is gone, there is no one who will put up with his bad behavior and rather severe criticism.
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How recently, Val? (and I'm sorry for your loss, too)

Your father has essentially lost his entire life support system, would you agree? It'll take quite a while to rebuild one for him. Key thing to grasp is that you and your brother couldn't do it by yourselves if you wanted to. Confer, the two of you, about a manageable calling and visiting schedule to share; get in touch with your father's church's pastor and ask for help; make sure he has all the information he needs about local services and support groups so that he can change his mind if he will; make sure his PCP/GP is aware that he is isolating himself; in short - delegate, delegate, delegate.

What is he expecting of the two of you that you feel is aimed at guilt-tripping?
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This is a great forum. I see that the NPD might be something here. My mom passed away recently and besides depression, my dad has been guilt tripping my brother and I -severely. He is 82, has always been very active, great health, drives, etc. Brother lives six hours away, I live 2. He is just not getting over my mom. She did everything for him including being his only friend. She had lots of friends. He had none because he found fault with everyone and told them so. No one wants to be around him including me & my brother because he is the same way with us. He is even worse now that mom is gone. Although I have no problem with religion, (I'm just not that religious), he is very religious and applies judgments of people according to what he studies and interpretes. Youch! It can be bad! I feel bad that he has no friends now at a time when he needs them, but he has chased them all off. He won't go to SR. Citizens, VFW (He's a Korean vet), or anything like that to socialize. I think going to church just gives him ammo to criticize people. I think this does sound like what was being discussed at first the NPD and I need to look into that. Thank you for the info and the chance to vent a little.
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Who needs Brewer's when the internet is right there? Here we are, from The Guardian's Notes & Queries section…

SEMANTIC ENIGMAS

What is a sandboy and why are they happy?
Megan Barford, Hebden Bridge, UK
Publicans used to spread sand on bar floors to catch slops, spills, spit and so on. The sand was delivered by sandboys. Hauling sand was thirsty work, and they were part paid in drink. This kept them merry. And, anyway, happy was the man who got free booze.
Peter Brooke, By Kinmuck, Scotland
Sandboy: As happy as a sandboy is an expression which implies blissful contentment. I believe that the saying is truly Bristolian in origin. On Bathurst basin, in the City centre is the long established Ostrich Inn. The Inn is immediately adjacent to the Redcliff caves which, in their day, were a prime source of sand. Past landlords of the Inn used to send little boys ie Sandboys into the caves to collect sand to spread on the floor of the Inn to soak up the beer and ale droppings (much like butchers used to put sawdust on the floor of their shops). The Sandboys were paid for their efforts in beer. They were indeed happy. I hope I have filled you with knowledge, I wish someday to be a sandboy myself!
Matthew Johnson , Leicester, UK
The version I heard involved sandboys sweeping up soiled sand and finding loose change among the detritus. Which they kept. And it made them happy. Well, who wouldn't?
Alasdair Patrick, California, USA


Which leads us on to ask who was Riley and what was so great about his life..?
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Um. Now that you mention it, I haven't the first idea what a sand boy is. Someone who is very contented, would make sense? I don't even know where the expression came from - I shall go and look it up in Brewer's.

A good yelling match, provided it is broadly equal, is healthy. And think how pleased your neighbours will be to have something to talk about besides the economy.
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Hahaha. Well she's been at my house for over a week. It's been very. ..explosive at times, I'm embarrassed to say. Things have been better for the past two days and she's going home tomorrow. She's gotten to see how very difficult things are around here and I've told her that I'm definitely going to have to cut way back on my visits with my grandson starting summer vacation. For the time being she said she can understand it. We'll see how long it lasts. My mother has a selective memory. I have to say that when she does a 360 like this I begin to feel bad for getting upset with her.
By the way, what's a Sand boy?
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Might as well be hung for a sheep as a lamb, mightn't you? If your mother claims you visit her only - only! - every other week, well, why not make it so? Give her something to complain about. She'll be as happy as a sand boy.

Any grief about that, by the way, and you could always cut it back to every third week...
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Thank you. I'll check it out.
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Though my Mom passed many years ago, and was, actually the polar opposite of demanding, that itself had its downside, as in, we never really knew what she wanted and what would have made her feel more comfortable. Having said this, however, I was a professional Caregiver for several years and saw similar interactions and dynamics in my clients' relationships with their families. The fact is, we torture ourselves with the idea and belief that our loved ones 'should' be behaving differently, essentially arguing with reality. What I've come to believe is that this is one definition of insanity. After all, our parents and other loved ones are the way they are. The trouble, in my mind, is that we editorialize, ascribing assumed motivation to their behavior, when in reality, we have no real way of absolutely knowing what is true FOR THEM. So for me anyway, my task is to question my beliefs about why people are doing what they do, so as to free myself from behaving based upon assumptions. There is a lovely book called "Loving What Is" by Byron Katie which outlines the process, known as 'The Work' to its practitioners. I highly recommend it to everyone, but especially to caregivers. Good luck!!
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You have my permission to reduce contact!! :-) You have enough on your plate. You need to be able to live your own life and take care of you! I know this can be a hard situation. Hugs to you!!
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Oh I can relate to my mother refusing to go to the senior center or out with people her age. "She's just not one of those types of people" -- I'm like, WHAT? You're older than them. Anyway, I have issues with mom having a social life, but that's my issue, not hers. She has kept all of her old friends at arm's length and down to a minimum of one phone call a month. My mother needs to be driven everywhere because my father (when he was alive) took her driving privileges away, fearing she would get into an accident when she was sharper than he was!! So, now I drive her everywhere she needs to go, doctor's appointments, store, salon, etc. Does your mom have a car? You say she's pretty sharp, so maybe that's not too too bad...?

Good luck with everything! Try not to get too overwhelmed. When I first started in this group, I was at my wits end! I was just so distraught over my circumstances. This group was and still is, a blessing to me....
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Oh and she'll find excuses to go out and shouldn't be driving.
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Wow! A lot of great comments. Pinkyk, I have a background in human services and had to study personality disorders. She does have NPD and a diagnosis of Bi-polar disorder. But the meds don't do enough. I still see the ups and downs. She denies this diagnosis of course and hasn't told her doctors of this. I'm trying to get her to go to a psychiatrist.
The Boogs; my mother has no problem expressing herself. That's a big problem. ..the never ending requests to talk to her several times a day often for an hour or more, to drive down there and keep her company. She won't take advantage of elderly get- togethers and she rarely will come to my house. I have to be careful when my 14-yr-old grandson is around her. He has meltdowns and screams and bites himself. That would freak her out. He's legally blind and trips over everything and could knock her over. But that's another story. I need another forum for that. Lol
JessieBelle, her mantra is, "Never move out of your home! " She told this to her 103 yr-old neighbor. She told my 89 year old aunt not to go into an ASL because she'll die before too long. She had finally agreed to go so my cousins are up in arms.
Once again I thank all of you. I think I'm looking for permission to reduce the number of times in a month that I have to go down there.
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momslave, you have so much on your plate already with your autistic grandson. You don't need any more aggravation in your life. Thirty miles isn't far, but it is when everything you hear is negative. You don't need to hear it. It sounds like what your mother needs is to move into assisted living. I wonder if she is like my mother in that regard, too. I can't get my mother out of this house.
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I meant to say, she lives with my partner and I... not parent. Autocorrect...ugh!
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Also sounds like my mom too. They're much more intelligent that we give them credit for. I can only speak about my situation, hoping this'll help... My mother will complain about EVERYTHING if she is left alone for too long of a period of time. (Like 1 day -- keep in mind that she lives with my parent and I...) But she will call one of my sisters (who she knows is much more gullible and vulnerable) and say, "I'm in SO MUCH PAIN!" And then minutes later, without realizing she had just called mom -- she's sitting down having a glass of wine laughing and enjoying her dinner. Then my sister sends me a text: "IS MOM OK?" It happens all the time. She knows that my sister will dote on her, whereas she can't really get away with that with me. I take care of her all the time, but she will complain in order to get something. I think it's more for sympathy, as I see it...

Nothing wrong with listening and "understanding" where she's coming from. I think that as they age, less attention is sometimes given. My father passed away 3 years ago and mom NEVER complained -- ever. When he passed, she got very lonely, especially in the evenings when she has to go to bed, because they used to stay up late and watch movies, etc. Though I am in the house, I am in another section and always invite her, but she rather stay in her bedroom. But she will complain to my sister about her pain and then look at me and smile and ask, "So when's dinner? What are we doing later?" *pulls hair out* I asked her, "Ma, you said you were in pain, you ok?" -- She says, "Oh you know how worried your sister can be -- I'm fine."

I don't know.

My point is: sometimes when it's not 'all about them', it's a cry for help. I truly believe that maybe my mom doesn't really know how to ask right out, "Hey, I'm a bit lonely, are you busy?" Or whatever it is they need... maybe that's the case with your mom? So I appease her because I think, when I'm her age, I'm going to want to express my needs, but I know I will feel bad about it.

She also probably knows that you have your own problems too and you have issues with pain, so she is trying to 'one up you' with her problems so that you'll rush to her aid......... ?? Just a thought......?

I can't give you sound advice because of your situation. You live 30 miles away, in pain and have your life that you need to tend to. That's difficult to go and up yourself and appease someone. Do you have siblings? See, because my mom lives with us, I get to appease her and cater to those cries for help because it's no sweat off my back and that choose to do this. But in this case, you need to do what's best for you and never, ever, let that awful emotion "guilt" get in the way of what you want in your life.

I don't know if my story helped, but I can relate to some degree, re: the complaining and self-centeredness. And it only gets worse from here. (Sorry to be a downer!!!)
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In my mind, adult children are not obligated to care for uncooperative parents who expect THEIR needs to be put first. Send a note to her doctor, outlining your concerns. Call APS and inform them that she's alone, uncooperative and tesists reasonable suggestions. Then cut back contact. This can kill you.
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Your experience sounds in many ways sadly similar to mine. I suggest that you do some reading up on Narcissistic Personality Disorder. When I was at the end of my rope with dealing with my constantly complaining, nothing was ever good enough, elderly mother (who had not been there for my brother and I as children), I actually started out by looking up OCD, thinking that might be the cause of her constant dissatisfaction. But the more I read, the more it clicked that the behaviors were actually those of NPD. You said "She has always put herself 1st and if it weren't for my grandmother, we would have been neglected.". Substitute aunt, and you've just described my brother's and my childhood. The current behavior of constant complaining and never being satisfied is also the same. There are many good discussions on this site where those of us with NPD parents have shared our stories and suggestions. Unfortunately, personality disorders are not curable, and the main recommended coping mechanism with these individuals is either going "low contact" or "no contact". In my case, no contact was not an option, and it might not be in your case either. But again, just knowing that others had experienced the same in the past and were dealing with the same challenges now, helped me a lot. Stay strong and don't be afraid to reach out.
This site is useful to start reading: daughtersofnarcissisticmothers/narcissistic-personality-disorder/
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Yes Jessie. So similar down to my responses. I can't walk away when she calls. No one wants to visit her because she's always been a self centered person and a complainer. I really want to know how often I'm obligated to drive down there and spending 5 or more hours with her. We've asked her to move up here but she won't. She's constantly falling, in chronic pain, and on quite a bit of meds but won't let me even to speak to her doctors.
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Your mother sounds much like mine. The story about the bushes made me chuckle because we had a sickness strike some of our bushes. She says it is because I cut them back way too much and killed them. She blames me for many things that I don't have a clue about, making up things that I did to cause whatever happens. She would probably blame me for WWII if I had been born then.

What I think she does is ruminate these negative things in her mind. Sometimes I'll come in the room and she'll be mad at me about something. Soon she'll tell me something I did wrong that is usually out of left field. If I try to defend myself she'll just get mad.

I wish there were a way to get her to stop that illogical ruminating she does. I'm actually a pretty nice person, but to hear her talk much of the time you would think I'm dead set on destroying her. It's just that negative tumbling of thoughts that she does in her head.

I don't have any advice, since I know the only defense I have when my mother does it is to walk away. Anytime I try to defend myself she just gets angry and escalates the bad feelings. This isn't really new behavior for my mother, but it is worse now that she is old with dementia. I often have to remind myself that it is not me, that it is her, but still it wears on the self esteem after a while. Why parents do this to the one closest to them (and to people who come work on the house) is a mystery. Maybe it is because other people don't come around enough to be in their minds.
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