She came to live with us after the death of my brother 2 years ago, she had been hinting at this long before then , I am now her only remains relative and as a child I got married and left home to escape her controlling behaviours , she is old school and spent most of her life pleasing and taking care of her own mother which she claims was her greatest joy , this was at the expense of her own husband and children who had to also do chores for grandmother, 37 years on now it's my turn , my mother believes it's my duty to involve her in every aspect of mine and my husbands life and frequently sulks for days if she doesn't get her way ,, I never ever agreed to this and am frustrated and angry that my mother thinks it's my duty to wait on her hand foot and finger as she did out of love for her mother !!! My life is my husband and my grown children and the relationship she now wants with me will never happen , I do not care for her enough in fact I do not even like her , I love her but have never been close to her and have no desire now to start !!! I take care of her needs , she's safe warm and fed is able to get out and about easily but refuses !! She resents my hubby and I having every other weekend doing things together and jibes me with sarcastic remarks , remarks she would never make to my hubby !!! She sits waiting for her food to be delivered to her lap , night after night and every night without fail will say as I walk away oh dear I could have come and got that , but in two years never has !! I've made the biggest mistake of my life allowing myself to be manipulated like a child again for her to live here but moving her out is not an option , she knows how to push my buttons and how to make me feel guilty ,, if anyone has any ideas or suggestions to help me I'd be very grateful thank you

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How much change do you want? if you want her out - you will have to be blunt and direct & help her find somewhere to live, that she can afford. This is what I would do as I grew up in a family with very controlling, unreasonable parents & have low tolerance for people feeling they have a say over how I live day to day. She is going to make you feel guilty no matter what you choose to do as she is unreasonable. Why not go the whole hog, get her out, but choose when and how you continue to see and help her? I'm not suggesting throwing her out and never seeing her again.

Otherwise - you will have to set boundaries and a thick skin. What are you willing to do/ put up with? What are you not willing to? Then communicate this to her and hold her to it. Again, she will make you feel guilty.

What helped me was therapy. It might be something you need to do, so you can determine what YOU want (not what your mom wants), and the WILL to do it. Good luck to you.

NOTE - your mom is not going to change - it is up to you to change the situation.
Helpful Answer (11)

1. Get a therapist.

2. Read the book Emotional Blackmail by Susan Forward

3. Stop dancing the emotional dance that your mother has you dancing using F.O.G. Fear, Obligation and Guilt. The F.O.G. is strong with her and she's been in that darkness for years and is not going to change. You are the only one who can change by putting yourself on a healthier path regardless of what she does or does not do.

In several ways, my MIL is like your mother. Thus, I'll add this. When you get your freedom, your marriage will be much happier!

I wish you the very best and remember to take no prisoners in pursuit of the goal of getting your life back.
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Boundaries need concrete consequences when broken which I have had to learn about doing myself. They are not comfortable to have to do and those who experience them don't like them plus sometimes don't understand them.

Everyone of your stated rules at the start have been broken. They need to be reinforced by having consequences for her because she has broken them. A home cannot have two queens. Either the wife is queen or the mom is. She must be dethroned. I feel for you and your situation has reminded me of the anger I've felt over my MIL dethroning my wife until she stood her ground which I am proud of her for finally doing. It was not easy for her but with the support of her therapist over the years and my backing, she did. Her mother has never liked me and still doesn't which is ok. She's why there are MIL jokes.

Have you and your husband had a heart to heart talk about this and what needs to be done? How does he feel and what does he think about this? What about the feelings and thoughts of your grown children? How can they help you stand up to her. One thing I will add on this note. Your husband and children can help you but they can't do it for you. My wife tried to hide behind my pants and let me take her mother on for her. That didn't work. Nothing changed until she stood up to her mother.

Stand up and stop dancing with mom. Go out and dance on the the town with your husband!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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Henny, i would start by not delivering food to her. Dinner goes out on the table and is announced.

I'd also leave her to her own devices on the weekends. You don't owe her your life.

I realize this is easy for me to say. I come from a family with boundaries and no one is expected to give up their lives and privacy to care for an elder. Do find a therapist, and look into Adult Day Care. Or senior housing options.
Helpful Answer (7)

I'm confused.

Your mother 'came to live' with you.
You never ever agreed to this.
She sits waiting for food to be delivered to her lap, which night after night for two years is what has in fact happened - you can't really accuse her of having unreasonable expectations when they are confirmed on a daily basis.
Moving her out is not an option. Really? Why not?

Ideas or suggestions? Phew!

Well. If your life is focused on your husband and your grown children, what about consulting them about plans for the future? How would they like the family as a whole to move forward?
Helpful Answer (6)

Your mother is 85 and in good health? Do you want to live like this another 10 or 15 years, or more?
Helpful Answer (5)

You've made the biggest mistake of your life allowing yourself to be manipulated like a child again. Why are you compounding that mistake by continuing with it when it has long been apparent it isn't working for you?

Kimber166 and cmagnum speak from experience. Listen to them! I do not share your experience and it took me a lot of reading on this forum to understand how hard it can be to disentangle yourself from a situation like this. With my lack of experience I would say, "For heaven sakes, throw her out!" but I realize now that is not an easy option. It may well take therapy to help you find what your really want and give you the support and strength to go for it.
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You gave her some rules and you didn't enforce them. In fact, you wait on her hand and foot and finger. What did you expect?
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I never agreed to this in as much as I sat her down and told her the rules before she moved in , I told her she had to keep her own interests , do what she was able for herself , and that I would not wait on her hand foot and finger , also myself and my hubby would continue to enjoy our own company every other weekend , once the reality of this hit after she moved in she said there's one thing being told this and another living it , I asked her what she expected from this and she replied that it would be the three of us enjoying life togeather , she said I never expected to finish my life with my son dead and living in your house where you clearly are queen bee !!! Yes because this is my house but your home and I've lived here 20 years !! She frustrates me beyond words , I live in England for the lady that asked .
Helpful Answer (2)

Having been there I can say with all honesty, get some therapy. You may have to try out two or three therapists. It is sort of like finding a good mechanic that listens to you. But, do it. Why isn't her moving out an option? Please explain. Here in the US there are senior apartments for low income people, don't they have the same thing in the UK?
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