Hi everyone

:-( I really need some words of wisdom. I live alone in an apartment age 48 and when I first got this apartment it was really the first time I was away from my parents, at 39. I had lived away independently many times, but always in temporary accomodation because of short term work contracts. Then I used to live with my boyfriend at weekends and holidays, and my parents during the working week as they were closer to where I was commuting to.

It's seems a long time to be with parents, but if you can imagine it was checkered, I wasn't with them the whole time.

But that said, 10 years ago I got an apartment of my own and started to feel settled. Sadly my Dad then passed away, it was unexpected and because I was so close to mum and dad, and so shocked by what happened, I spent a lot of time with mum......

Fast forward. We lost 10 other family and friends over the next 9 years. So it complicated the separation from my mum and her moving on with her life and me moving on with mine. I only live a ten mins walk from her even now, that's ok, but actually I might have been better off to live in a different town altogether.

Anyway, I'm in a situation now where I'm trying to 'wean' mum, lol, that sounds odd, but trying to get her to have the odd day here and there to herself. I work for myself so I can be flexible and go visit her in the early part of the day and then work the rest and still get 8 hours of work in a day.

But on top of all this, a male friend of mine has become very dependent. I used to do some typing for him and so he got into a pattern of calling all the time, every time he needed something looking up on google, etc. His mother had Alzheimers and he's terribly worried he's getting it as his memory is so poor, he's 62, but a very young 62 and he had some brain damage at birth which is likely the reason for his poor memory (ie it's not a recent thing, though he struggles a bit more now).

Anyway, as far as this friend goes, I've made a few boundaries and he's doing his best to stick to them (though often depressed), like not calling on certain days, etc. Its a start and he's at least trying.

But mum, she says she doesn't need me to visit everyday, yet her actions, mood, behaviour, etc, tell me another story. If I say I'm not visiting on one day, she comes to me, or she says the dog isn't well (which will get me round there pronto, I love that pup and he's been ill recently), or there's something she desperately needs from the shops and I happen to live right by them, whereas she has a 20 mins walk and she has back trouble, etc.

I don't mind helping anyone or listening to anyone on the phone, etc, but both my friend and my mum just don't seem to understand that I have a life of my own. They say they do, but their actions and behaviour concerning me suggest that they are not respecting any boundary.

Then I wonder if I should have stronger boundaries, but the truth is neither of them are coping on their own, they are very lonely and if I don't answer the phone or do the visiting, they WILL suffer and go downhill one way or the other.

Mum has lots of brothers and sisters but it all seems to be being left for me. I'm starting to be in a situation now where on top of all this, I have 2 neighbours that knock and quite honestly, while they are nice people, I just don't have the time for them, or their issues that they talk about. I've got to the point where I'm not interested. I desperately need time to work and for myself. I don't have children or a partner, and I'm ok with that, it was partly by choice (although I never expected I'd be this age and still like it but a lot has happened as I said), but because of that it seems that everyone wants a stake on my life.

Mum won't go to any local groups. I just feel I'm hurting mum and my friend when I need time to myself. Advice and thoughts welcome. Thanks for reading.

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Thanks everyone, I will reply properly soon. I suppose I need to add here that I have health issues of my own and extreme fatigue a lot of the time as a result. And today is one of them so I'll be clearer to respond later, less brain fog, lol.
Helpful Answer (1)

Exactly as below :)

But also, darling. Your mother, your friend, these people around you - their welfare is important to you, you do things for them that really help, and that does make you a terrific human being.

Only, could you please also put *yourself* on the list of people who need care?
Helpful Answer (1)

Everything Tothill says is spot-on. I would add that you might find it helpful to do a little reading up on the topic of boundaries, or perhaps listen to a podcast or audiobook about it. "Boundaries: When to Say Yes, How to Say No to Take Control of Your Life" by Cloud and Townsend is a good book on the subject. (It is from a Christian perspective.)

You are obviously a very caring, nurturing person, but when random neighbors are now starting to foist their issues on you willy-nilly, it's time to make some changes!

Good luck!
Helpful Answer (1)

You are correct, you need your Mum and friend to respect your boundaries, and the best way of teaching them is to say 'No."

You are not responsible for being their social lives. You are not 'hurting' them by needing time to yourself, you are setting boundaries. If Mum chooses not to be involved in social groups, that is her choice. If you friend will not join a library for his Google searches, well that is his problem, not yours.

If you continue to say how high, they will continue to say 'Jump.'

It is great that you are telling your friend only to call on certain days. You need to do the same with Mum. You can tell her you will go to the shops for her on Tuesday and you will call on Monday evening for her list. If she forgets anything you cannot possible pick it up until the weekend.
Helpful Answer (3)

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