Follow
Share

Ever since my dad passed away in 2004, my mother depends on me to go holidays and take her out, i expected her to meet new friends but she didn’t, and doesn’t want to, I have tried to introduce her to social clubs etc, but she is not interested, she has made the assumption that I am happy with her hijacking my life , I have explained to her that I am not her companion and want to do my own thing, but she just ignores me.
When I have taken the plunge and went off on my own travels. She has made me feel guilty, it makes me feel upset that she doesn’t think of my needs , anyone else have this issue?
She is 88 and has sharp mind, I am 60 , and single

Find Care & Housing
So sorry that your mom is guilting you into spending too much time with her. That would make spending any time with her ruined, for me, because of her demanding it. It needs to be voluntary!
Helpful Answer (0)
Reply to againx100
Report

Do you know this book? I recommend it highly. "Boundaries: When to Say Yes, How to Say... book by Henry Cloud (thriftbooks.com)" Good luck and we're all rooting for you!!!
Helpful Answer (0)
Reply to Ambrianne
Report

Sounds like my mom. I work hard to not feel guilty! But it is hard.

My parents moved in with me and hubby 6 years ago. They were supposed to travel, etc. Dad died less than a year after they moved in. That was NOT in the plan! Life is always throwing curveballs at us, isn't it? I pushed and prodded mom to get involved in things. Nope. Oh she joined the book club which was once a month. And a ladies group that also met once a month. That's IT. She relies on me and my kids and grandkids for her social life. I made a big mistake by allowing it. Now that I have grandkids I'm too busy to be her playmate anymore. And hanging out with her has become harder and harder as her mental condition has slowly but steadily declined. Conversation is so boring to be painful.

My next step is to give my mom some choices. She's going to need to pick some things. Assisted living. Or a home health aid to hang out with her. Or get a ride to senior day care.

She will not like these options but she's going to have to choose one.
Helpful Answer (2)
Reply to againx100
Report
deedee1234 Nov 28, 2021
She has also stated on several occasions that she brought me up and looked after me when I was a child it’s now my turn to look after her.
(0)
Report
You need to get your own head straight. No one can "make" you feel guilty. It isn't her fault that YOU feel upset that she doesn't think of your needs. You're placing the blame for your feeling on her. Get control of your feelings, and the problems will go away.

No one appointed you the social director. You took on the role, so after almost 20 years it isn't really fair for you to expect her to suddenly change the way things are done simply because you say so. Still, that's what needs to happen, so I suggest compromise instead. You get to travel on your own, but you might also take a weekend trip here and there with her.

Your time is your own, so set some boundaries, stick to them, and follow her example by ignoring what you don't want to hear.
Helpful Answer (5)
Reply to MJ1929
Report
Lizbitty Nov 27, 2021
Yuppers. MJ got it right.

You are giving her power. She tries to guilt trip you AFTER a trip, “Aw, Mom. I’m sorry you feel that way.” Best non-apology ever.
(0)
Report
My MIL did this to my SIL when she moved to the town my SIL lived in. Previously she had been in their hometown in a lovely AL and it was in driveable distance for all three of her kids to visit. MY SIL was a college professor, single and had a very active, busy life. But she was the most successful of her three children and therefore deemed the one she wanted to be near.
My SIL was not at all pleased by this and said to my MIL, "well that's fine but you will need to develop a life of your own". My MIL found this a hilarious statement, laughed like a hyena at it and often mocked my SIL for saying that, and repeated the story many times. We all knew then it would be some straight up hell for Sis and boy was it ever.
We felt sad and powerless to do much but to try to support my SIL as much as we could but MIL was so much farther away from the rest that getting there more often wasn't feasible so the burden fell to my SIL. But she did, through a cargiver group at her church learn to lay down some boundaries which of course were met with guilt and contempt. It was really hard for SIL to do what you are doing, taking the plunge and traveling, etc. But she learned to live with mom's endless disapproval, unhappines and guilt making comments. It was really hard but for her own sanity and well being she just had to let it go. Letting it go is way easier said than done and it especially hurts coming from a parent. You are not responsible for her happiness and entertainement. Keep doing what you are doing for yourself!
Helpful Answer (4)
Reply to Siouxann
Report

I’ve been going through this, so I definitely get it. Keep remember that, in plane emergencies, you have to put your mask on before you can put on someone else’s.

Your mom’s lack of a social life is not your fault. She is an adult, and is able to make her own decisions. I would take some time and figure out what boundaries you feel comfortable with. I try to FaceTime my mom once a day so she sees someone, for instance, and I just set the boundary of staying at a hotel for the holidays. It’s tough, but know that you’ll probably never “satisfy” her need for attention, and what you do will never be seen as enough. We are here, we’ve been/are going through it, so know that you’re not alone. Hugs to you.
Helpful Answer (7)
Reply to LongWays
Report
Ariadnee Dec 16, 2021
Wow....I just implemented staying at a hotel too! Had to do it. Family member with high drama does not respect my boundries, they would not stay at a hotel (we would pay for it). So, I went to a hotel. Felt great! A whole weekend off-first break in over 6 months.
(2)
Report
Are you able to have a chat with your mom and set aside "date night(s)" with her? Maybe a Wednesday night or Sunday afternoon you can both go out and this way you'll be able to schedule time for yourself? When my folks got up to 88 or so, I just wasn't comfortable leaving them for extended holidays so I would take a weekend a couple of times a year without them. Then as they got closer to 90, I just stopped going away as their needs overtook mine. I think that in a way, many of give up a portion of our lives in caregiving.
Helpful Answer (2)
Reply to Tynagh
Report

As long as you keep giving in to her, by keeping her amused and entertained, she will never have to figure things out on her own. You are not your mothers keeper!!!
So keep living your life the way you see fit, and don't let your mother make you feel guilty for enjoying your life. It's only because she is jealous that you are able to go and do and she is not anymore.
Please quit enabling your mother, and get on with enjoying your life and singlehood.
Helpful Answer (2)
Reply to funkygrandma59
Report

Guilt is self inflicted. Mom lost Dad at a bad age. Really hard to make friends in your 70s. People usually have their own little group of friends and activities. Hard for a widow to fit in unless that widow was into her own activities prior to becoming a Widow. My Mom had her Church and other widows she hung out with.

I really could not leave either of my parents to their own devices on a major holiday. My Dad loved Christmas and Thanksgiving. Both holidays were a big thing for my parents. If you have plans for the holiday, maybe do lunch or dinner the day before or after.

Was Mom social before Widowhood? If not, she won't be after but that really isn't your problem. You are entitled to a life of your own. Maybe make a day for Mom. Thats what I did for my Mom. We picked a day to grocery shop, run errands and have lunch.

Your Mom is 88. Going to be hard to change her now. I hope ur not living together. If not living together, don't ever. Then your life will not be your own. Your Mom has chosen not to find a life of her own. That is not your fault. Seems like u have been telling her you can't be her everything for a while. If you have the opportunity to do something on your own, do it. Don't tell her until the last minute if possible. Her ignoring you is her problem. She choses not to listen. Not ur fault.

If she has money, why not consider an Assisted Living. She will have Socialization and activities. The companion thing sounds good but you should not pay for it if Mom has money.
Helpful Answer (3)
Reply to JoAnn29
Report
deedee1234 Nov 27, 2021
Thanks for your message, no she wasn’t social before my father passed away, she Relied on my father for social outings holidays etc, my father had lots of friends, and no I don’t live with her, I think she expects me to move in if she isn’t able to do things for herself anymore, but I won’t be, as I won’t have my own identity anymore . I have also told her this. I realise that I have to change and harden up against the manipulation. Set boundaries etc to allow me to live my life the way I want.
thank you
(3)
Report
Hello,
What you did was fine, and I would say necessary for your health.
Your mother has had you as her social director for almost 20 years, and made no attempt to build outside relationships. Perhaps she's an introvert, happy with just a few close connections. Perhaps she is unable to let go of a dynamic that has worked so well for her. Our mothers are close in age. Your mother may see it as your duty to care for her social needs.
I was struck by your saying ''she has made me feel guilty''. This is correct-you cannot control your mother's reactions, but you can control how you let them affect you. You made an effort to provide your mother with alternatives, and she has not suggested what she would like. Think about what you need to do to limit the impact of how her reactions make you feel guilty. You reasonably need some breathing space, and want to do some things that interest you.
Helpful Answer (2)
Reply to ElizabethY
Report

You did right letting her know that you are not her companion. As for making you feel guilty that's on you. It took me years to realize that no one can make another person feel guilt unless they are willing to believe they're actually guilty of something. My mother has done this to me since I was a little kid and has abusively used guilt as a manipulation tool to get what she needs or wants. Sometimes I struggle with it because I've had a lifetime living in the F.O.G. (Fear-Obligation-Guilt), but I strive damn hard every day to not live in it.
Going on your travels and not allowing your mother to hijack your life aren't reasons for you to have guilt. You're not doing wrong and not hurting anyone. Not meeting all of your mother's socialization needs on the terms she sets for you, is not being hurtful to her. Keep doing what you want to do and if your mother doesn't like it, oh well too bad.
I don't think at 88 she will be joining any social clubs or making any friends. Maybe you could try to get her to join her town's senior center if there is one, but it's probably not likely she'd be interested in that either.
The last hope is maybe a paid companion. They're hired help who takes the senior to appointments, running errands, and social outings. They even do housekeeping and meal prep. Tell your mother you're hiring a person to help her around the house and with shopping and other errands. The right person knows not to call themselves 'companions' when dealing with seniors like your mom. I did this kind of work for a long time. At first the elder doesn't want anyone in their house because they think they're just fine. I'd start with taking someone to their doctor's appointment. Or to the store. Then it would be lunches out a couples times a week, going to the movies, and even taking a few to join the senior center in the towns they were from. The hard part is getting the elder to try something. Start looking for a paid companion for your mother. This might work for her too.
Helpful Answer (3)
Reply to BurntCaregiver
Report

I'm an only child to a single parent. All her life she relied only mostly on her sisters and family for her social life. When I went away to college, she actually suggested that we be room mates off campus. After I got married and had my own husband and children, I invited her to move near me, which she gladly did, having the amazing opportunity to purchase the little house right next to mine. She enjoyed being a part of our lives (and visa versa) but never invited any of the nice neighbors to do anything with her -- it all had to be done through me. I just decided that she is a full grown, capable adult (worked as an RN for 50 years) and that I'm NOT her entertainment committee, nor am I responsible for her happiness. I keep having to tell myself this, when I go out with those neighbors sometimes I don't invite her along (at 92 she has gotten very negative and starting to talk about inappropriate things). It feels hard sometimes but it's not wrong. May you gain peace in your heart as you go about your own life!
Helpful Answer (6)
Reply to Geaton777
Report

My parents were legally separated. They both had a tendency to want me to do that. Impossible for an only child to be two places at one time.
Helpful Answer (3)
Reply to OuterBanks74
Report

Ask a Question
Subscribe to
Our Newsletter