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My 75 year old mother calls me at least 5 or 6 times a day. She calls to tell me she is lonely or bored. My dad passed away a couple of years ago and she now lives in a retirement home. She is a difficult personality, is very paranoid and doesn't get along with many people for long. I have 3 small children and a job so I have a lot of demands on my time. These aren't calls just to say hi and check in. When she calls, she wants my complete, undivided attention for as long as she wants to talk, which is impossible. If she hears the kids in the background, she gets angry and tells me to call her back "when I can listen." If I tell her after a while that I need to go, she gets angry and tells me to call her back. Each time one call ends, I have to anticipate another call where I can sit and give her my total attention. The only time I can do this is after the kids go to sleep and by then I am usually very tired. If I tell her I am tired, she becomes angry again. She doesn't forget she is calling and she knows how much this stresses me out. She just doesn't care. She tells people that I "never talk to her." I have tried putting limits on the calls...doesn't work. I have tried telling her that I can only talk at a certain time...doesn't work. I have tried calling her while I am driving home so she has my full attention but by the time I get home and have to go, she is asking me to call back AGAIN later. If I tell her I can't, she calls ME. She has always had very little impulse control, which is part of this. The only reason I keep answering all these calls is that I know one day she will be gone and I will wish I could talk to her. She is also in very poor health and I feel sorry for how lonely she is so I just keep answering the calls. However my stress level is through the roof and I can never relax knowing that the next time I get a quiet break, I will be sitting on the phone again indefinitely. Has anyone else dealt with this situation and how did you handle it???

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I went through the same thing, but my mom was calling because she was afraid. She would even call the police to report people in her trees! Anyway I talked to her doctor after I had to move in with her and he helped me find meds to help calm her down. She is now bed ridden and can no longer speak. I love my mom and will take care of her for as long as she needs me too. I forgive her for all the things she said to me because I know its the disease that was talking.
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1 call per day on your terms, when it's convenient for you, for only as long as you can spare. Don't answer any of her other calls and absolutely ignore anything negative or shaming she says to you regarding being unavailable, bad daughter, blah blah. If you answer her 1 call per day and she talks crazy/negative to you, give her a warning that if she doesn't talk something positive, you'll hang up. Then if she talks negative or crazy, hang up. If you answer her calls and engage the crazy, it's on you.
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So yesterday my mom kept calling all day. I told her that I would call her later after the kids went to bed. Nevertheless, she would call again within the hour. I finally lost it and was much ruder than I wanted to be. I answered and told her that I have repeatedly told her I would call later and that this has GOT to stop, that I can't sit and chat with her every couple of hours. There had been a total of 10 calls at that point. Later when I talked to her, she was angry and confrontational. She told me that I should be ashamed because I won't even make time for my mother, told me my dad would be disappointed if he was alive, etc., etc. The biggest thing she is paranoid about is people talking about her. The idea of someone "talking about her" keeps her awake at night. She told me that she knows the only reason I spoke to her the way I did is because I have been talking to someone about her, told me not to play dumb because I should know good and well what she is talking about and told me I have a "mean heart." As much as I know this is a result of her mental illness and now dementia, it still hurts for my mom to tell me I have a mean heart. I have tried to be nice about the constant phone calls as long as I can. I have tried to understand that she is lonely and I have tried to accomodate her as much as I reasonably can. I have noticed that every time there is drama with her, I get sick. I am basically a healthy person but each time there is major drama with her, I have a health issue within a week. Logically I know that I have enabled her and that she is unreasonable. The daughter part of me doubts myself and wonders if I am really doing all I can. I guess I just needed to vent and hear from others that I am not wrong.
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lealonnie1 Jul 28, 2019
You are not wrong my dear....your mother is holding you emotionally hostage and using passive aggressive techniques to cow you. My mother loves to pull out the Shame card, its her favorite. Shes been mentally ill her whole life and now has dementia....a real Molotov cocktail if ever there was one :(. She also fears others talking about her and seeing the REAL person behind the mask she wears. WE, you and I, SEE and KNOW these women and they HATE that, so they have to treat us badly to ensure we will keep their secrets. Oh the SHAME if it ever came out....wiping my brow dramatically. Right? Recognize the game, ugly as it is, so you stop allowing her to make you sick. I will speak to you ONCE A DAY MOTHER and if that's not good enough, how bout we take a break from these chats for a FEW WEEKS? Change the dynamics.....take the reigns now and stop letting her cow You! This is not all dementia....this is a lifetime of selfish narcissistic manipulative behavior that's WORKED up until now. Throw in dementia, and the shit show amps up to a whole new level, a little at a time. You make the rules now, and you stick by them, or else she'll turn this into SUCH a circus you'll never escape the madness. You deserve to speak up for yourself and stop buying into the lies and the guilt/shame/bully card she loves to play. As soon as you threaten to stop calling her for a few weeks, she will probably back track a bit and pull in her claws. But if not, not. Enough is enough. Its like I've said for decades: nobody has ever told these women to sit down and shut up. But NOW is the time. GOOD LUCK....YOU CAN DO THIS!
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Restrict the number of calls, you are enabling her bad behavior. 2 a day is more than enough, then don't answer any more calls for that day, make this your boundary and stick to it. You are not responsible for her happiness and you will never make her happy, happiness is an inside job. Don't reward bad behavior.
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This is truly a situation of damned if you do, and damned if you don’t. Even when you do answer the phone, according to Mom, the atmosphere isn’t right, there’s noise in the background, etc.

First, stop feeling sorry for her. Direct your efforts toward encouraging her to “get a life” so to speak. Most facilities have activities for their residents. My mom’s had two or three a day. If she’s anti-social, encourage reading, doing puzzles, anything to keep her off the phone. Tell her you will answer two calls a day and no more. They will be ten minutes in duration. If she wants to spend those ten minutes crabbing about the background noise, well, it’s “her nickel”. Then, stick to it. You are enabling her by always being available.
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Your mother is the classic example of "give her an inch and she will take a yard". Arrange ONE time per day to speak to your mother.....one time of your choice that is predetermined and not changeable. Let her know, of course, and that her other calls will have to go to voice mail because you have way too many other obligations to spend more time on the phone. Sorry mom, but that is my hectic life these days.....which is true. Then you will have to follow through and LET her off-schedule calls go to voice mail, otherwise the cycle will never end. You should not feel guilty or obliged in any way, either, because you did not cause her lonlieness or boredom. In fact, you are preventing her from creating a social life in the retirement home by allowing all these phone calls to go on! You have to force these types of people to develop their own routines, or else they won't. My mother is a chronic complainer, negative Nelly who hates everyone, bad mouths even her so-called friends and family, then wants to talk to ME about it all the time. All that toxicity was stressing me out big time, so I invented rules to prevent more than 1 call a day. That was 2 years ago and its still working. YOU make the rules or SHE will wreck your peace of Mind!
Best of luck!
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