I am almost 50. My stepfather has been diagnosed with Dementia and recently had a "mental Breakdown" in which he was admitted to the hospital, then psych hospital and now in rehab. Our hope is that he can come home eventually--after he regains his strength. My parents live about 2 hours away--so it is hard for me to be there to help on a regular basis. When this started happening- my siblings & I decided that the best thing would be for my parents to relocate closer to one of us. Since I am the only girl- we thought it best that they move near me.....they love the city that I live in and I have more time, travel less and am an empty-nester. My mother, who is fiercely independent....agreed. Over the last 6 weeks--I have been there 4 of the weekends, helped pack up her home, helped relocate my step-dad to a nicer facility, made endless phonecalls, put together PLANS (plan A if this happens, plan B if that happens) Ive taken days off of work------and tried to console my mother when she was close to breaking down. And I have done this out of love and care (and a little excitement that I will get to spend more time with my mom as she ages)

My question is.......(and this is where my pity party starts) is that I feel I take a lot of verbal abuse, negative comments, unappreciative jabs from my mother. I know she is going through a lot...her life is changing (and change is hard for someone who is older)...she has always been very independent and very controlling---and I understand that there are things that she is losing control over---so I have tried to listen, offer suggestions, help make decisions....I have "taken the bull by the horn" a few times wen she asked ME to decide, because she was too stressed to. I call her every morning and every evening....
But-when Im asked my opinion, give it --then she starts an argument over it......I just dont know how to handle this! Ive tried saying "ok mom" and there are times that I have bantered back because I am so upset (and tired)
She has since told me on 2 occasions that she isnt moving here, that her & I "never got along" and that she cant discuss anything "stressful" since it hurts her chest. (She is fine--she uses it as an excuse to get out of a discussion that isnt going her way...or to get me to back peddle)
BACKGROUND: I was never my mother favorite...she said she never really loved my birth father.....and she has always played favorites with my younger brother (who is a product of the love of her life) My current Step-Dad is husband #3---and she has never really loved him either. He is a wonderful man- but has taken a lot of verbal abuse from her too.
So--How do I handle this? My mother has alienated a lot of people. She doesnt really have any friends (although she claims to- I have not met anyone in years that she says is her friend) My brothers love her, but one is wrapped up in his own issues in another state, and the other has a family with young children and he travels for work. Neither one of them play into her. They call her once a week and they are done.
My hope was that I could help her, grown closer to her, reconnect as mother/daughter/friend and help her with my stepfather (Im in the medical field)
This would help her if she wants to become more active, or wants to make friends and go on trip (or just live her life!) and I can help caregive so she doesnt have to worry or feel "tied down".......I have asked advice from my patients who are caregivers and tried to incorporate some of that into my relationship with my mother.
But- I feel she is so unhappy (with a life SHE CHOSE) and she is taking it out on me. Ive tried to take it- but I am starting to struggle with it.
Can anyone offer me some suggestions? Thank you so much!!!

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When you wrote that you were excited about spending more time with your mom in her old age I thought, "Uh oh!"

I'm sorry it's not working out that way.

You won't be able to change her so don't try. It will be a waste of your time.

To find peace you must accept that this is the way your mom is. Yes, it's sad and yes, you don't have the mother you thought you would but this is the way it is. Accept it.

And on your way to finding peace you must also take care of yourself. Don't get into circular discussions with your mom that go nowhere. Realize that she will clutch her chest when she's done talking with you and accept that that is her way of dealing with things. In taking care of yourself do you really need to speak to her several times a day? Or even once a day?

Your mom is independent and likes to be in control. Step aside and give that to her. If someone presented me with Option A, Option B, or Option C I would be thrilled and grateful but it sounds like it rubs your mom the wrong way so let her fumble around herself for her own options. If she would like your help she can ask for it.

And to keep your peace, create boundaries. If you think she is taking her unhappiness out on you remove yourself from the conversation. Either walk away and leave or get off the phone. Just because she's your mother doesn't mean she gets to treat you badly. And just because you're her daughter doesn't mean you have to take it. You can disengage politely and firmly.

In my own life peace doesn't always come easily. Sometimes I have to work for it and it takes a little practice before healthier behaviors kick in so give it some time.
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Closer to you, but not IN with you, right? Into some Independent or Assisted Living, right? Two women cannot share one kitchen, flames will erupt and it won't be the oven that blows up. Share your plans with his kids and make sure you all agree on the future.
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So, when your mother and stepfather move to your city, where exactly are they going to be living? Just make sure there's enough mental safe distance - it doesn't matter if it's on the same block as you so long as you each have very distinct, separate front doors.

I'm not saying it's a bad idea, mind. In fact, I'd like to congratulate you on looking well ahead and, as Ba8alou points out, recognising that there are alarm bells going off left right and centre.

It sounds as if you already know your way round the mental health system, and just want to check there isn't anything you could be doing that you haven't already done. I'm very boring about it, but I can't recommend highly enough Christine Lawson's book on Borderline Mothers - aimed at the general reader, it's an extraordinarily practical guide to setting boundaries.

Your mother may or may not have a borderline personality (I'm not convinced it's a very satisfactory diagnosis in many cases), but even if she hasn't her behaviours fit the profile: therefore the techniques might well be helpful to you.

Perhaps it might also be a good idea to put your own personal Pros and Cons down on paper and chew it over thoroughly. The obvious Pro is that, if you're going to get pulled in to supporting your mother and stepfather anyway, it will make life simpler if they're nearby. If you're already having difficulty accepting your mother as she is, though, that could become a bit of a monster. Have a look at the Borderline Mothers book and see what you think. This is really all about dealing with your expectations of your future relationship and making sure that all of your hard work doesn't come around and kick you in the behind, would you agree?
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This is not your pity party. This is your gut instincts and sense of self preservation kicking in. Look through the posts here of folks who thought it would be nice to reconnect with their dysfunctional families and don't so it. Find them assisted living or find them hired help. And have your mom seen by a geriatric psychiatrist. It sounds as though dementia and/ or depression may be in play.
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