Aside from other many problems I'm facing trying to care for my mother, there is one that is absolutely extenuating. Despite her sickness and her constant complaints about severe pain in all her body, she keeps looking for and finding things to do around the house that require a lot of effort, almost meant to be done by several men due to heavy weights to lift, risk etc. Activities vary from heavy duty gardening I.e. Pulling out trees (big trees) and planting new ones, lifting heavy rocks, cutting branches of mature trees (machete required, like in the wild), trying to "organize" and clean up, which means lifting heavy boxes, several TVs (she does not like to throw away things so things are buried under heavy stuff, etc, etc, etc. Need to mention too that we are in Central America where the heat is not something to play around with. Since I moved with her, about ten months now to take care of her, I feel I just joined this hurricane-like life. There are very few "good" days, and by good I mean normal. The rest are either her feeling truly bad, or her feeling better and therefore working like slaves, or her mad at me for whatever reason that I cannot make sense of. I should say she is really always mad at me, saying things like she wishes she had a daughter like such and such..while I'm thinking that I'm sure there are no many other people that could even last more than two weeks. I'm committed to be with her until the end, but I'm realizing the end might be my end. She does engage heavily in the work she wants to do and I've realized it's better not to tell her to stop or suggest that it is too hot or that it is really not necessary; all those words fuel her to do more. It is like an spirit of contradiction. So I have no choice but to do it with her so she doesn't do the worse parts or as much, and the few days that a lady comes to help around the house I kind of let her be the helper instead of me, but then my mother gets even madder at me because that means I don't care nor take care of her. In all honesty I'm getting tired, very tired. Tired inside, in my heart also my body, sad and resenting her terribly because I know my mom, so I know she's been like this all her life and it is not something related to dementia or anything like that. I left the house when I was 27 when I got married (now divorced) so I'm now living with her after many years of not remembering how bad is bad. My mom refuses to seek any medical help, yet throws at me comments that are meant to tell me that other daughters really take care of their mothers including taking them to the doctor. When I have asked and even begged or even used reverse psychology to convince her to seek medical attention I have failed every time. I know I'm not perfect, but I also know I'm making a supreme effort to ignore the mean comments and actions and be kind and loving to her. I have not said anything out of place no matter how much she has pushed. But this thing with the heavy physical activity..what to do?? One day we both will faint or something worse, and no one will find us until days later, seriously!!

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Cdnreader, and that's the key problem, although I've read a lot about dealing with a difficult parent, especially an elderly one and try to keep in mind that I'm the bigger person because of her inability to comprehend the wrongness in her actions and way of thinking, I'm building great resentment towards the person I love the most and for whom I am doing all I possibly can to help her.

That also makes it much more difficult to have patience, but I really almost never make that evident to her. But God, my mother knows how to push to a point of madness. I love her, I'd die for her (maybe I will at this pace! Lol) but why, oh why this is so terribly hard.

This week I didn't even say no to her, I simply removed myself from the situation. The lady that comes to help around the house once a week came, and my mom got up and started moving heavens and earth, she was doing a thousand things at once, lifting, moving, washing, cleaning, re leaning, rewashing..and complaining the lady doesn't do anything or does all wrong (the lady is not great but my mom is truly exaggerating); It is like if she doesn't run around turning the world upside down she feels she isn't in control and losses her opportunity to criticize everybody else's "performance".

Well, because I removed myself from the situation and came into my room to handle things I needed to, emails I needed to write, bills I needed to pay, etc., then at the end of the day she was beyond MAD at me, and when I told her :"mom, you've done a lot today, don't you think keeping going will end up resulting in you feeling really bad later?" - in a loving way, not ironically, not mad-. And tried to touch her arm, and she removed her arm from my reach, looked at me as if I was a murderer and told me to shut up and that I was a hypocrite, that if i really cared about her I'd be doing all she was doing, that I'm used to live like a pig surrounded by trash! Then went inside her bedroom, slammed the door and locked herself up in there and didn't eat for the rest of the day.
The next day she told me that the is dead serious when she says that if I don't change my attitude she is going to take really serious if I'm 15 and have disrespected my parents terribly. Just so you know I don't live surrounded by trash or like a pig. She's for sure more organized than me, but I'm not like what she's portraying me to be, and I don't just lay down all day everyday, actually I rarely seat down.

This is my life. Every single day. Meanwhile I left my home, my life, my economy is truly hurting, I'm now unemployed in a third world country, after quitting a successful career and again, my entire life in the US. Now, do I resent her for that? Seriously not. I made the decision, and I'm glad I did it because there's not a soul to take care of my mom. Not a friend of hers, no people I can hire (they all leave), no family. I had to do this, I'm aware of it and I'm ok with that fact. No choice, just action.

Yet, what I resent her for is not acknowledging that I left all of that and therefore have NOTHING to go back to if she wanted me lo leave, which I wouldn't do because I know she needs me. But the mere fact that she doesn't consider that is heartbreaking.
She doesn't consider that when she treats me so bad she's hurting someone that really loves her and has not only said it, has done it. I've and keep trying everyday to put the word LOVE into action.
She doesn't realize that every word she says filled with anger (almost feels like hate towards me, although I know that is not the case) hurts me profoundly and will keep hurting once she's no longer with me.

That is what hurts me.
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Dear Rosses003,

I know you love your mom very much and want to help her. Sorry to hear she is making you crazy with her requests. I was the same way with my dad. After his stroke, things were frustrating him so I would do everything he asked. He wanted this fan replaced, done. He wanted the tree trimmed, done. He wanted French fries, done. In my culture, we tend to do our parents' bidding.

We are a bunch of controllers in my family. And each one of us always thinks we know better than the others. It is so tough. As much as we want to please our parents sometimes the answer is no. To save your own sanity and well being, it is better to pretend you can't hear or just say no and let it be. A lot easier said than done, but I wish I had more courage and said no to my father. Instead I just let the resentment and anger build and that was no good for either of us.
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If someone was making up stuff to do around the house that required heavy labor, once I caught on to what was really going on, I'd decline. When they realize you're not giving in and ask why, just tell the truth and just don't do it. Just explain that if they want it done, do it themselves and just walk away
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I hope that this doesn't sound hard or uncaring, but your mom gets to make her own choices in life. As do you.

If your mom, with a terminal illness, tries to work herself to death, that is a decision she's allowed to make. I'm going to assume that she'd rather "go down fighting".

You, on the other had, need to be there to care for her. If she is not suffering from cognitive issues, you NEED to sit down and let her do what she wants to do.
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Your mom's decisions would signal to me, that something truly is amiss with her. When a person uses judgment that is that poor, it's a red flag, imo. I'd likely speak with her doctor and an attorney. I'd get information on how to proceed, if you wish to protect her from herself.

If not, I might look out for my own safety and health, after notifying officials of her situation. They may want to investigate and intervene. Just allowing her to call the shots with such outrageous behavior, would not be something I'd continue with. People are not always aware of self harm.
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JeanneGibbs, you hit the nail on the head. My mom's personality is the type of never giving up and being in control. She was diagnosed with an advanced stage of breat cancer in 2010, the doctor told me she likely wouldn't make it longer than a year. Yet, here we are! And believe me I'm beyond grateful, I have faith and I believe my mom is here because in part we received a miracle, and in part her strong will and sense of discipline have kept her going. So with the good comes the bad I guess.

The bad side of her personality is what I'm experiencing. She wants to feel as if she's in control and as if she is capable of doing everything.

I've tried suggesting to her that she should write a book, because she's also a very intellectual being, very intelligent and committed, so if she were to write a book that would give her days use and meaning. But she responds explaining that her hands hurt and she cannot type..yet were lifting the weight of the world around the house!!
She does not want to be seen by doctors anymore by the way. But I will try to talk to an old doctor of hers to see what they suggest.

I love my mom a lot, but it's so so so very hard to love someone that does not release an ounce of control and that lives to be right!
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BarbBrooklyn, thank you because aside from your advice you got me to laugh visualizing the situation of saying no, and then sit down. It is true, I know logically it is a great danger for both, but my mom isn't one to sit down and a "no" to her is like gas to a car. If I sit down, she will do it all by herself. She cannot even walk with balance but if her mind is set on doing something you bet she will!
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PS ... It is not your job to ensure that your mother is never angry. Anger is seldom fatal. Doing heavy labor in the heat can be.
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"I have no choice but to do it with her." I'm sure you believe that, but it is not true. We always have choices.

To choose to do something that endangers both you and your mother is irresponsible. I know that is far from you intention, and I don't mean it as a criticism, but I'm afraid it is a truth you should face. Taking on heavy-duty work in the heat is, obviously, not healthy. And it does risk severe consequences.

You mother has cancer, right? Has she seen her doctors since her diagnosis? Have you been in contact with them? Is there some agency in your country that looks after the well-being of elders?

I sincerely feel sympathy for your mother. If I faced the diagnosis of cancer, I'm not sure I would remain rational (at least not at first. I'd like to think I'd get back to normal in that regard.) Maybe I'd want to do enormous tasks, to prove to myself or fate or the universe that I was still healthy and strong. Maybe I'd be demanding, to prove to myself that I was still in charge. I haven't felt the pain of cancer, but even sciatica pain makes me crabby and unpleasant. So I feel sorry for your mom. But I still wouldn't allow her to insist you do dangerous things.

I am afraid that you are right -- "the end" in this case may be your end. And not only would that be a waste of a wonderful, unique, compassionate individual, it would also be disastrous for your mother. Make choices to prevent that!

Your mother needs more help and/or a different kind of help than you can provide. No, she doesn't need the huge tree trimmed. She needs her pain managed better. And that includes her psychological pain. There are professionals that can address those needs -- but of course she has to be willing to see those people. Perhaps talking to her doctors yourself would provide some clues as to how to bring that about.

Research whether there are support groups in your area. Having Mom attend a "social hour" for people with cancer might be useful. And find a support group for caregivers as well.

I don't know what is available where you are. Here I think I would refuse to help my mother do dangerous things, and if she insisted on doing them herself I would call the Adult Protection Services and report that this vulnerable adult is doing risky things and I didn't know how to stop her.

Please stay in touch here! I'm concerned (and I'm sure other members will be) that you and your mom both stay safe.
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"So I have no choice but to do it with her so she doesn't do the worse parts or as much, and the few days that a lady comes to help around the house I kind of let her be the helper instead of me, but then my mother gets even madder at me because that means I don't care nor take care of her. "

You are NOT obliged to do things that pose a danger to your health, just because your mother will be upset if you don't.

If she is of sound mind and wants to die lifting heavy things, so be it. But you don't have to do something just because she wants you to. You DO have a choice. Say NO MOM, I can't do that, I'll hurt myself. And then sit down.
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