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The last few times we were at our parents' house ended with her screaming epithets and insults at us, completely unprovoked (other than us not reacting to her unrelenting negativity--but that's just a guess). It's been three weeks since either of us has spoken to her or gone to their house. The bad feeling we have is not diminishing; the tragedy of the situation is eating away at us. The dilemma is: how can we go there if she's made it clear, on more than one occasion, that she wants no part of us? They have no one else close to them (physically or emotionally) who can do their grocery shopping, whatever, for them. We're reluctant to call her because we don't want to be subjected to her wrath (which undoubtedly has exploded in the past three weeks) or her withering sarcasm. We're at a loss. Is it okay to stay away and wait for her to call us? She did last week, and said they were "in bad shape". My husband called her back & she wouldn't tell him what they needed, and screamed at him. The next day one of my nieces called her & said she sounded fine & had hired a laundry service (my sister's been taking care of that for a few years now). She said to my niece that we should be able to take some abuse after all she's done for us, to which my niece replied, "no, they shouldn't". It's a disgusting situation that I wouldn't wish on my worst enemy. Any advice/suggestion is welcome.

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Today is a bit difficult. It's our parents' 61st wedding anniversary. Ordinarily, we'd have them to our house or my sister's for a cookout & little celebration. Not this year. I actually considered inviting them, once again entertaining the ever-tempting fantasy that things could be normal. It's such a sad situation.
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My only words of wisdom is to let it be and move on with your own life.
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Scaredtaker, she stopped taking Paxil when she was admitted to the hospital after breaking her arm & having the small stroke on April 1st (April Fools? How I wish). I have no idea why the hospital didn't have her continue with it. I told several different people there that she'd been on it--I even asked if I should bring what she had at home to the hospital & they said no. She took the Prozac maybe for a week. I think I mentioned that when I asked if she was taking it, she said no, that she didn't want to. Your idea certainly is a possibility for her bizarre, irrational behavior, but she's been kind of mean & unpredictable my entire life. It's gotten completely out of control now, though. There is absolutely no talking to her. My sister & I feel alone in all of this, even though we have my husband & her daughters--there honestly is nothing we can do. She's considered able to make her own decisions, and that's that. She would NEVER agree to any sort of psychiatric evaluation. When seeing a psychiatrist or psychologist was suggested to her by one at the hospital, she told us she said "oh yeah, like I'm going to do that." That's pretty much what she told me after her physical therapist showed her how to exercise on her own: "Oh, like I'm really going to do that." She's beyond stubborn & obviously doesn't want to do anything to improve her life, so how can we force her to? We're just about done, unless, as I said, there's an emergency. I can't be a part of this game anymore. We're doing fine, going about our lives, but we both agree that it's just a matter of time before one of us can't deal with the constant thinking/worrying about it and falls apart. Thanks to everybody for your ideas & concern. Just knowing I can come to this site & share with people who understand is a huge help.
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When did she go off paxil and prozac? There is a serious withdrawal that is protracted with discontinuation of such medications and the result is often rage. It has been reported that it can take years to recover from withdrawal when going off cold turkey. Doctors will not tell you this but it is affecting those who have experienced exactly that - and the numbers are astounding
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You're 100% right, sue888. I'm going to stick to my guns unless there's an emergency. It has to stop. Thank you!
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Get off the merry go round and stay off!
You're getting nowhere and you're the one who's going to end up dead from all the stress!
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Countrymouse--we've talked about our mother's behavior with the nurses from the VNA who were assigned to her, our parents' lawyer, and to a few friends. Everyone who knows the situation advises us to stay away. Here's an update: after one month, our mother called me with her best "fake crying" and asked "how long is this going to go on?" I said I was wondering that myself. For a fleeting moment I fooled myself into believing that this was it, this was going to be the resolution & we'd--as a family--be able to put all of the recent ugliness behind us. No, it wasn't to be. She immediately began berating me, my sister, and my husband for not going there. I reminded her what she had said to me the month before. She told me how awful I am because she had given me "the moon & the stars" & the best years of her life. I don't remember any other details, other than she was yelling (not "crying" for long) & being typically irrational. She ended the "conversation" with a terse "goodbye", and I hung up. That was last Saturday. The next day I bought some groceries for them & wrapped her birthday present to bring to her. Her birthday was July 5th, as is mine, but it was on June 30th that she'd told me she never wanted to see me again, so I didn't think giving her the present was in order. Anyway, again I had the fantasy that things would be at least somewhat resolved, that maybe we could have an actual conversation/discussion rather than the one-sided barrage of criticism she's so fond of. And again I was sadly mistaken. She started in on me again about how wonderful our childhood was (and it was--we had everything. Everything except affection & approval, and of course we had more than our share of negativity) & how awful we are to not be helping them. I again reminded her of the things she's said to us & that I wouldn't allow anyone else to talk to me like that. She half-heartedly apologized, and continued with the rant. There was simply no way she was going to hear what I had to say. After a few minutes I got up to leave, saying just that I'd have their laundry ready in a couple of days (I'd gathered the laundry to do for them when I got there). I asked what groceries they needed, and she yelled "I don't need anything." As I went to pick up the bag of laundry I'd brought upstairs, she screamed "I don't want you doing my laundry." As I went to leave, she literally threw the birthday present at me, saying "I don't want this s**t", which pretty much was a repeat performance of her act on Mother's Day. When I got home a few minutes later there was a message on our answering machine from her, begging for forgiveness. I didn't call her back. I can't kid myself anymore that she's suddenly going to become the reasonable person I hope for, that she's ever going to stop behaving the way she does & realize she cannot treat us like dirt. My sister wants to have no contact with her whatsoever. I agree, but I know myself and know that when she calls again, I'll give reconciliation another shot.
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Soodoo, I'm sure this won't be the first time you've ever heard this, but "go away don't leave me" is the definitive mantra of borderline personality disorder - so well recognised that it's almost diagnostic.

Is that a subject you've discussed with anyone in any detail?
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You are not alone. If your husband is "stronger" than you (not implying you arent!) and if he doesnt mind, have him stop by with some chicken or coffees or something. Is an "excuse" to go in and see really if they *are* in bad shape. I only suggest this as its been one way I have coped. You have the "guilt" and "honour due" but its the hubby who has to hear the crap. Im only saying if he can handle it and isnt as affected by the mental abuse and hurtful words mom uses towards you (fat, useless etc...so uncalled for) I know its not same advice everyone will give but thats why we are individuals and nothing wrong w picking ideas from here and there. Love to you x
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Soodoo,
Save yourself.
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SooDoo--
I honestly don't know how one person can treat another person so shabbily--this has been an ongoing source of wonderment in the last 42 years for me. My husband shielded from his mother as much as humanly possible when we were dating...and I now know why. I KNEW before we married that she didn't "like" me, but really thought I could win her over (of course at the tender age of 19 when I met her, I thought I COULD work miracles.)

My MIL's life is 100% about her. Yes, she struggled to raise a family with a man she hated, and for that, I cannot fault her. Dad has some serious problems, and the divorce was a blessing. However, she has some kind of serious personality disorder, and at the age of 87, is not likely to change.

It HAS rankled me that when he son was so sick, and nearly died, that she felt all the stress was on HER. Never will understand that.

The saddest part is really that my 5 children and my 13 grandchildren have no relationship with her. They literally (the ggrandkids) have no idea who she is. Since she doesn't care about them either, I guess it's a wash.

Hubby did ask me if I had known how awful she'd be would I have still married him? I honestly had to say, no, I didn't think I would have.

It did hit her one day (so I heard) that she was discussing how she plans to live to be 99-1/2--my Sis in law laughed and said "Mom, I will be 77, "D" will be 82 and "B" will be 80. You should have been nicer to "B's" wife, she's the one who's going to put you in a nursing home. And if I do have to, I will make sure it is nice and she is well cared for. I don't want revenge. I wanted a MIL who wanted another daughter.

You just want a mom, don't you? And that's what hurts. The daily reminders that you weren't "enough" for them.

Honestly? Most of my friends had wonderful mothers and decent relationships with their MILs. I think we see a very skewed yet honest version here on these boards. We need to vent. Doesn't make us bad people.

Take your break. They won't starve.
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You are trying to get involved with the woman who abused you verbally and emotionally when you were a child. And that is a bad idea. As another poster already said, abused children should not be caregivers for their abusers.

That your mother may also be abusing her husband - your father - is another matter because he has Alzheimer's. The only solution I see for you is for and your sister to get yourselves a family law/elder law attorney in order to get guardianship over your dad and get him out from under his abusive/neglectful wife and into memory care.

You and your sister cannot help your mother. But you both can help your father. And you need an attorney to protect yourselves and your sanity. It will cost some money but you have made it clear that your mother has had some form of mental illness for a long time and is no longer capable of taking care of your father.
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Thanks, crmagnum. I've read here and elsewhere that thinking she's going to change is hopeless. It's something I find I need to remind myself of daily. I've also read that the pain of distancing oneself from an abusive parent lessens, but it does take time. I want to be there for them--as I've said, we aren't monsters without heart or compassion--but when someone repeatedly kicks you out of their home, at what point do you take them seriously & stay away? It's the most difficult thing we've ever had to face. I thank you again, and everyone who's responded. You're all so kind & I wish you all the best. I have to sign off for today.
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Midkid58--WOW. Your MIL sounds exactly like our mother, unfortunately. I can't believe she couldn't even visit your husband when he was so seriously ill. Indeed, what kind of a mother is that? I have to say, though, in our mother's defense--I had two hospital stays about twenty years ago, and she was there for me. But isn't that just what any mother would do? It's not something extraordinary. What is, though, is that a mother could treat her own children so shabbily for no reason.

I agree with you that people become MORE like themselves with age. Our father was always the type person everybody liked--very kind, generous with himself, always with a smile. He's even more like that now--the aides that were in place at their house loved him. Our mother, not so much. She was 100% hideously awful to them.

Your post has definitely helped--thank you SO MUCH. The never-forgiving, the telling us to get out & don't come back routine--it's like certain people have gone through the same sort of bizarre training for how to be miserable human beings--such a shame that so many of us are dealing with this. Good luck to all of us!
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Your mother has and has had a serious personality disorder. Which one, borderline or narcissism, it does not really matter. See a therapist and set yourself free from her. People who have been abused by their parents should not be responsible for their hands on care. It may be tempting to think that if you can do something for her, then she will finally be nice to you. After all of this time, this is not going to happen. It is not your fault that this is how she is plus you cannot fix her or rescue her. All you can really do is to put and keep yourself on a healthier path in life.
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She said "I have two worthless daughters, one worse than the other." She regularly reminds us of how little we do for them (we've done everything they've ever asked, save give up our jobs--and lives in general--to move in with them rather than having the live-in aide).

As for not agreeing with her complaints--we have...over & over & over & over again. When she starts with that (and I can't, for decency's sake, write specifically she's been on about most recently), it's as though she's thinking out loud. She's not asking questions or for anybody's opinion--she's ranting, almost like she's intentionally trying to build up her anger into a frenzy.

Honestly, I don't know what I want to hear. I do see your very good point about how, when she did call, we avoided the confrontation. After she wouldn't talk to my husband I called her. Their (land)line (no cell phones) was busy for about an hour and a half. When I was finally able to get through she wouldn't pick up the phone. I left a message, but she didn't call back. If I had been there when she called I would have answered the phone, which I plan on doing if and when she calls again.

As for waiting for her to calm down--that's not going to happen She is never calm. She has unbelievable stamina for sustaining anger. The past couple of times (before this latest episode) I spoke with her on the phone, it was all sarcasm. She asked why I called. I replied that I wanted to say hi & see how they were. "Oh, you're concerned?" with heavy, heavy sarcasm. She obviously wasn't thrilled to hear from me. Unless you've seen her in action it's very hard to describe. My opinion is that, because we refused to take on full-time caregiving duties in their home, her anger towards us has reached unimaginable heights.

What do I want? I want to get on a jet and run as far away as possible. I don't see that in my future, though. I don't see any solution, either, so I suppose I want to get it all out to people who might possibly understand. It's been a lifetime of putting up with being called fat, useless, worthless, stupid, pathetic; being berated belittled, and controlled by her because we were kids & had no choice; witnessing her treating our father like a puppet; (his fault, to be sure); staying out of her way when she got into a mood. It's such a conflict--she tells us to get out of her life, but we know we need to be in it. If she had acted this way a decade or so ago, we would have had little problem obeying her wishes, but now--it's a whole different situation. We aren't heartless, but we're not robots without feeling, either. Thanks so much for your compassion, Countrymouse.
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This appears to be a very tragic situation, apparently with your Mother the one blocking access to getting care, and having a peaceful existence for her and your father.
1) Mother
She is not medicated properly with a history of an illness requiring meds.
She no longer complies with treatment.
She is being over-stressed living with father, who has Alzheimer's, equaling 2 vulnerable adults. If she had no history (possible bipolar or BPD : Borderline Personality Disorder), his illness plus her aging could have led to her burnout. Understanding for her.
However, facts are that she is emotionally abusing your father, and now you.
2) Father
Has Alzheimer's, may require more assistance than you know (mother is not explaining?)
His wife, your mother, is continuing abuse, which as a vulnerable adult, he cannot report or fight. This may have escalated to physical abuse.
3) Family
Has been banned, may have shaking and PTSD from ongoing abuse and stress, is sad and worried.
4) Authorities
Have not adequately intervened as yet.

Step 1:
Temporarily, secure Dad's needs by picking him up, 1-2 x per week, take him to the store with you if he is able. Meet him outside, drop him off outside.
This will give Mom some respite. This will allow Dad a break-he may be able to let you know more, once he is away from her. This plan won't be easy, but he has rights too.
This action may expose Mom to a crisis 1) Maybe she cannot be left alone. 2) Maybe she is inappropriately isolating and abusing her husband. 3) Maybe she is self-medicating on pain meds or alcohol. 4) Knowing more, you may have to take Dad out of there.

Approach this without taking sides. Accepting that she has banned you leaves 2 vulnerable adults, still. Your Mom is very ill. Give this plan 3 months time.
Are there pets in the home?

You can do this?
I am not against you backing off until the fridge is empty, or another crisis presents itself, because the authorities won't SEE what is happening if you cover for them.

You decide what you are able to do, but shaking is not a good sign.

It was not my parents, but when this happened to a more distant family member, I had to pay for the food, lunch out, haircuts, medical supplies like a heating pad, OTC meds like Tylenol and Colace-the reason for only 3 mos. because wife would have never allowed expenses for her husband.  Not my doing, but they are living separately now.
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SooDoo--
I read your posts and think "You are describing MY MIL!!". We've never had a good relationship, but it was cordial enough. About 11 years ago, during a very difficult time in our lives (her son, my hubby, had liver cancer and received a liver transplant--followed by 84 weeks of chemotherapy...) she called me up out of the blue and told me she hated me, she wished I'd never married her son, I'd ruined his life--well, you get the idea. Told me she NEVER wanted to see or talk to me again. Ok. After the tears subsided (on my part) and I had talked to hubby, (who didn't believe me) I decided to just walk away from her, emotionally. I have not had a single conversation with her in 10 years. I know she hates me, and I don't care. Hubby took a few years, but he began seeing that she had truly done & said what I told him. She is one sick cookie.

And you know what? There's not one single thing he can do for her. She doesn't want to be "helped", she enjoys only the company of her daughter and her daughter's family. She doesn't have any friends, she hasn't spoken to her oldest son for well over a year and I don't expect she will speak to him again in his or her life.

I think you are in a similar situation. You don't like it, but you cannot control it. Walk away. Sounds like your folks can manage--so let them.

In my experience, people , as they age, just get "more" like themselves. Angry, bitter people become more so, sweet kind people--sweeter and kinder. My MIL divorced my DH's dad after 42 years of marriage--sheesh, 25 years ago? To hear her, it happened yesterday. No forgiveness from this woman. No compassion. She didn't even visit my sweet hubby in the hospital or call him after his transplant. What kind of mother DOES that? She said she was too "stressed out". Well, so was I. She's independently wealthy, we dropped over $250,000 on my hubby's care for the transplant. She offered not one dime.

Walk away. And bless your nieces. This is a "fight" you cannot win.

Oh, and BTW? My mother ROUTINELY tells me to go to H377 and I say "Yippee! I'm in timeout again". And I don't visit her for a couple of months. Sadly, you're not alone.
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Epithets and insults... What, in general? - though I assume she wasn't casting doubt on your paternity, at least. What's the gist of what she's getting her knickers so twisted about?

Not reacting to her unrelenting negativity. Mm. Sometimes, people not agreeing with you when you have a beef can in itself be quite provoking - you want them to validate your grievance. So what's the grievance she wants validated? Or grievances, plural, several times over, I'm guessing.

Speaking of which, I'm not quite sure what you want to hear, either. Because you ask "is it okay to stay away and wait 'til she calls us?" - which she did, and your response was to let your husband call her back for you, and then (your sister, I suppose?) put your niece up to the job, so when mother does call you you still don't fancy getting involved directly, and who can blame you -

but anyway, before that you ask what you should do.

What do you want to do? What are you hoping will happen? Because clearly it isn't a matter of waiting for her to calm down and approach you: she did that, and that didn't help either.

Brava to your niece, by the way. Perfect reply: defending your and your sister's position while in no way insulting her grandmother. A model answer to your mother's attitude.
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Sendhelp--thanks for thinking of me. Unfortunately, my sister and are IT. My father is an only child, and my mother had one sister she wasn't close to who died years ago (we didn't even know her). My nieces are young women in their 20s with lives of their own, and neither my sister nor I want them involved in any more ugliness than they've already been forced to endure.
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Thank you both for your kindness--it means so much. I wish her behavior was a side effect of medication, but it's merely an exaggeration of what she's been like for our entire lives. She isn't taking any medication--she was on Paxil for a few years, and it did wonders for her attitude. She was so much more easy-going, and "went with the flow" rather than lashing out at whoever was handy (usually our father, who has Alzheimer's). She stopped taking that after spending time in the hospital & rehab after falling out of bed & breaking her arm. She was prescribed Prozac at the hospital. I asked if she was taking it and she said no. I asked why she wasn't, and her answer was "I don't want to". She's utterly impossible. The director of a home care agency she had (very reluctantly) hired called her "mean". A nurse from the VNA described her as "mean, bitter, and angry". We've attempted having a conversation about her treating us with respect, but she turns everything around to herself and how much she's done for us. At one point, after I asked her how she'd feel if somebody talked to her the way she does to us, she responded, "Oh, these things just come out". I was with her during the admission process at the hospital. One of the questions on the form the nurse had to fill out was "how do you cope with stress" or something along those lines. Her answer? "I scream and holler." She treats most people with disdain, she bad-mouths & insults anybody who doesn't live up to her impossibly high standards (and that's just about everybody). She can't let go of past unpleasantness, like the fact they had a live-in aide for about three weeks. She talks incessantly about how awful it was. She gets annoyed when we don't respond. I said at one point that I'd already heard it, and didn't know what to say. She said "I know, I'm f***ing boring." Nice. I literally shake when I'm there. I don't think they're in any real danger. They have a tenant who lives next door to them, and neighbors who see them regularly and have our phone numbers, so I'm sure somebody would contact us if something was dire. At one point, the subject of a psychiatrist was brought up (not by us; it was a professional at the hospital I think), and she totally dismissed the whole idea of it. The VNA opened a case with Protective Services, but nothing came of that. She's very adept at putting on an act for outsiders. It's hard to understand how your own mother could be so hateful towards you. Again, thank you SO MUCH for being there. I've been to this site so many times in the past couple of months. It truly has been a sanity-savior.
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Suggest that other family members visit.
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Dear SooDoo17,

I'm sorry to hear what about is happening. I know you and your sister truly want to help your mom and dad with some of their daily care. It is very hard when your mom is acting so angry and abusive. I am a fix it kind of person too and it is hard to step back and say fine, just let it be.

I wonder if some of your mom's attitude is related to the side effects of her medication or some other mental decline like dementia? If you truly think they are in danger, I would contact a social worker or Adult Protective Services or Senior Services in your community to check on their welfare. Maybe your mom would be more receptive to a third party.

For now, its okay to back off till she calms down. My other suggestion would be family therapy or talking to a counsellor or joining a support group for caregivers. Thinking of you.
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It is ok to stay away for your own protection until she has a crisis. She's made her bed. Let her sleep in it. It's her choice. You can't force your help on her.
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