How can I have a life when my Mom keeps trying to make me feel guilty?

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I have been my moms sole caregiver for over 6 years. I have dated off and on during that time, but never nothing serious. Now I have met a man and things are progressing and could become serious. I am with my mother Monday through Friday but spend the weekends with him. I come home to check on her but I am with him most of the weekend. She says that she wants me happy, but then makes smart remarks about me being gone. When I'm at home with her, she stays in her room and I can't get her out to be social.I am at a loss. Am iI wrong?

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Your mother's condition is never going to get better. Start preparing for her living arrangements that don't include you. Get a durable power of attorney from her now before it's too late for her to sign those papers before a Notary Public. In order for you to have your own life, things need to change. You need to change. Your mother isn't going to change as much as you need or want her to. Accept her limitations and your own. Not everyone is cut out to be a caregiver and that is okay. Sometimes it takes years before we recognize that we cannot go on as caregivers because our loved ones need so much more than we can provide.

Caregiving is only going to become more involved with time, and a romantic relationship requires lots of time in order to develop. Even after marriage vows romantic relationships still require lots of time to maintain.

I think you need your own space and privacy to have your own life. If you can't afford to move out, bring in outside help to give you the time to get to know your boyfriend better.
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No zena47, You are not wrong at all. You are Caring for Your Mom and have been doing so for over six years. Invest in Your future and be happy. Our Mother's will not be around always, yet We must live and be happy. We can not die with Them. This is Your time zena47, embrace Your Life and enjoy every minute. Lord knows old age will creep up on us too all too quickly.
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I think it is unrealistic to expect behavioral conditioning to do much for someone with dementia. That technique relies on memory -- you didn't like the results last time you did this so you won't do it this time. Sometimes persons with dementia might remember but mostly they won't.
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Several people have mentioned having had their LO's evaluated and treated by a geriatric psychiatrist to develop appropriate care. If she is somewhat functional mentally, she might respond to behavioral conditioning, where you avoid rewarding bad behavior and give attention when she's nice. She might even understand that you are reaching a point where you cannot live like this. Be prepared for worse behavior as she tries to find your breaking point.
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My mom has onset dementia. I was wondering 6 hours away and under the care of my sister, she almost died. My mom and I live together. Before the dementia set in, she had a ton of other health issues.
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Why has your mother needed a caregiver for more than 6 years? What are her infirmities? Do you live with her in her house? What would she do/have done if you had not been available in the last 6 years? (For example, you worked several states away.)

Does your mother have dementia? That does change some things.

No matter what your mother has, you are entitled to your own life. Absolutely. But knowing your situation better might help us make more specific suggestions about how to accomplish that.
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I meant "tired OF her nonsense."
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Needy people equal entrapment. One way to start cutting that umbilical cord is to stop coming by on weekends to check up on her. Just leave a # where you can be reached in case of emergency. And it better be earth-shaking. That man needs all of you, not someone whose mind is somewhere else half the time. It's irritating.

Just like a manipulative child, she's giving you attitude and throwing a tantrum by holing up in her room. ... Call your beau, knock on her door and say you'll be back when she's in a better mood. Lather, rinse, and repeat with every tantrum she throws. That kind of selfish behavior has to stop.

So nip it in the bud before the man you're falling for gets tired or her nonsense and kicks your a__ to the curb.
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Can I just say that you need to watch out for the duplicitous elder. Now I have thought for a long long time that despite my mothers dementia despite the in and out of lucidity moments she can outwit me any time she blinking chooses. Couple of scenarios

I wanted to go away - had arranged daughter to come and stay she got diarrhoea and I couldn't go (only later did I realise she had eaten a whole bag of liquorice!)

In hospital she was bored because she had to be isolated (diarrhoea again) so she sat herself on the floor (don't ask me how but that its what she told me she did so someone would come and talk with her)

I was going out for dinner I came in to see her on the floor again. I can't get her up on my own so had to call for back up - missed dinner.

And please don't tell me she doesn't know - the glint in her eyes tells me she knows only too well

Theoretically I could put her in bed move the walker out of range and go out knowing she was safe - abuse - you can't isolate the from their walking aids or lock them in or restrain them in any way other than if you are with them and it is for their safety - i.e. putting a seat belt on when pushing their wheelchair or locking the door when you go to bed at night.

So sometimes you just have to bite your tongue until you find away round their tantrums and smart comments. Tonight I told her that my male friend was going to have to have major heart surgery and very soon. Her reply summed my mother up completely. Well at least you won't go and see him and leave me on my own again..... I went for 2 days last year and put her into respite - I was called back after 1 day she was so difficult.
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I think ArmyRetired has a great point and it just may get mom out of her room. "Mom, I'm gonna take off and go see "John". Kind of bored and lonely without you out here to talk to. See you later".
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