How do I prepare myself for a visit with my neurotic, needy mother?

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It has been a month since I have visited my mother. I cannot avoid her forever, she does need some assistance with transportation. She has set up some appointments that I will be taking her to. She is an emotionally draining individual because of her emotional neediness and emotional immaturity. Any suggestions on how to prepare myself emotionally for my own emotional wellbeing. It is hard maintaining emotional and physical boundaries with my elderly mother when I am around her. The anger along with the guilt just doesn't seem to ever go away. I have come to feel she is more of an obligation than a mother I can love and want to care for. I actually love my dog more than my mother. I resent any time I spend with her and dwell on these feelings before and after being with her. Any positive feedback would greatly be apprciated.

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Em,

Years ago, when she came to visit by herself because she "missed me," I'd take to the bottle the moment she left. The woman would come not to really see how I was doing, but so nag about the day I put her in a senior citizens home. Plus rag about my Dad (who's been dead for years); and to grind in how much I remind her of him.

Now, days before the visit, I make sure to be mentally ready. If not, there's no way she and my screechy oldest and youngest sisters -- who need drama to function -- are going to come through the door. ... They don't dare mention my Dad's name anymore.

They dropped by unannounced last Wednesday, with the excuse they were visiting the "beautiful Catholic church" across the street from my house. Horsehockey. ... I've been on a sabbatical trying to finish a doctorate, and they knew I was home.

Mom started reminiscing about those unforgettable Easters in Puerto Rico, when she -- wearing a crown made from the thorns of a lime tree -- pretended to be Jesus and carried a makeshift Cross from the hilltop slum to the Catholic church at the other end of town.

You have no idea how many people wanted to nail her to it.
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MishkaM, I have been in and out of therapy my whole adult life. I am tired of explaining the scars on my wrists, the incest I endured and an indifferent mother who was too busy having an affair with a married man while being married to my father or catering to the demands of a younger sister just to shut her up. She does not believe what happened to me by telling my husband it didn't happen. She justifies her motherhood by saying yes she made mistakes but she did the best that she could. Now that she is alone and needs help, she wants me to be the one to do it. Why can't she just leave me alone like when I was a small scared confused little girl? I somehow managed to survive by myself into adulthood without her help!
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Debralee, I'm so happy you didn't let the judging and rudeness of others keep you from sharing here. It just chaps my hide when people feel they have the right to judge others. When I see posts that say everybody should feel honored to take care of your mother and you owe her because she raised you, I just want to scream. Not everyone had or has a mother who even remotely deserves that honor. When you are abused, you don't even feel like being with your mom much less take care of her. Because if any of your mothers were like mine, the verbal abuse NEVER stops!
Things are different for me in that my mom died two years. I don't miss her. My kids don't miss her. We had gotten to the point where we didn't invite her to any family functions because she was so hateful to me with never ending criticism and that made my kids furious. She had nobody to blame but herself. The only thing I miss is that I didn't have a loving mother. I can't change how my mother was but it made me work hard to never treat my kids as I had been treated. So as much as mom disliked me, and wanted me to dislike myself, it backfired on her. She couldn't stand that I have beautiful relationships with my son and daughter and they think I'm loving, good mama. My mom was the one who lost out and she only had herself to blame.
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As more comments get posted to my original question, the more I realise far more people have had it far worse than I have endured. PamelaSue my heart goes out to you. I have never encountered any one who has had to endure more then what you went through. Sometimes I wonder if there is such a thing as loving elderly parents who have earned the honor of being cared for by their adult children. If there is, I envy those who have a wonderful relationship with their elderly parents. What makes me even more sadder is that my children were never able to experience the normal joys of a grandparent/grandchild relationship with my parents.
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One year after my wedding, when I had a tiny baby, my MIL had a problem when we did not want to come to her family gathering the weekend after Christmas, 3 hours away. There were no other married cousins, and "everybody" wanted to see the baby. My husband caved. We went, we managed to offend everyone by making them wash their hands before holding the baby, and we left. We managed to infect every one of them with the stomach flu, and rode home pitching out the window. Longest drive home ever. I had a lot of resentment.

Fast forward a few years. We find out that one of those nice uncles takes great joy in crushing the children's hands at these gatherings we are "forced" to attend because we don't have the guts to say no. The next one, I watch the kids like a hawk - and I find Uncle sneaking up to get into the bathroom with them, which they resisted and alerted me to! I YELLED at that giant bully, I gave him a good piece of my mind, in front of his wife and all the inlaws, and my husband was then ready to decline further invitations. The family still tried to make us feel guilty, but we were not the ones doing wrong and protecting an abuser.

Those of us who have been abused are kept under the thumbs of abusers when we are too afraid to protect ourselves. If you allow someone else to control who you visit for Easter, you are allowing them to abuse you. They will continue until you stop them, and they don't like to be stopped! YOU have to make the decision and follow through. WE are behind you, and WE support you.

Your mother is going to do every manipulative thing in the book to make you change your mind. If you change your mind, you are allowing her to control you. People can only abuse you now that you are an adult if you allow it. STOP HER! Stand up for yourself and you can do it!!

I'll be praying for you. It's hard. I've done it. I've caved and wished I had not, and did better the next time. YOU CAN BREAK FREE!
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run away run away run away, it's probably better than the care she showed you! how many of us carry scars from what these mothers and fathers did? I do believe that one woman here showed us what happens to a woman when the family has had enough and fights for their freedom; mommie dearest did not end up on the street. bad mothers and fathers simply do not deserve our love and care, how hard is that to see mr and mrs outside world? mr or ms. sibling, congregants, stop judging us. walk a mile in our childhood.
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Back when I "needed" to go see my mthr before going to Boston, I had bought her little toys etc to placate her while we were gone. It had not worked before, so I don't know why I thought it would be useful then. Glad I mailed them.

When we took the kids to see her right before Easter, she proudly showed off the spinny colored water toy AND the toys from Boston I took her after my kids tired of thm: a colored water hourglass thingy and a pop-eyed baby dino my 6 year old drove us crazy with, popping out his eyes for an entire day in the car.

After mthr showed them off, the 6 year old started turning over the toys to make them "go", and she waved him off - "He will break my things! Get him away!" It was more than three months since we had brought the kids over last because she had verbally abused the teenager, yet she could not be sweet to those who gave her the very toys she was protecting.

Point is, NOTHING we do is going to make her any different than who she has always been. What is different is how we react to her. I don't *need* to visit anymore, I only go when I want to, and I take a witness to support me if/when she goes on the attack.
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Hi Debralee, I don't know if therapy would be a good choice for you, again, PamelaSue makes some good points. I know after I started mine - first time-( this was after a nervous breakdown due to my mental illness -OCD /panic attack disorder) and the diagnosis of my daughter's syndrome( it brought forth the necessity to heal my own mental illness-before my daughter's needs I was able to cope with other, less conventional methods- or just ignore my needs) I did fall apart and someone-I think my husband's boss of all people-said -when you want to rebuild something stronger sometimes you have to tear it down first----that resonated with my husband ( who was dealing with me) -and helped him help me.

I don't want to come off like I know what is best for you for I surely don't!!! I am just throwing out my own experiences seeing if anything helps. Goodness knows, just tonight, I flipped out and fell on my knees in desperation because I couldn't find the darn tinfoil. Soooo- yeah- I am no therapy expert nor done with my , er , own renovation.

Wishing you and all those who have been hurt by the very people that should have loved them peace. ((((hugs))))
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Debralee, As soon as I escaped from home and mother control, I started therapy. I was intense for a few years also, and my therapist immediately had me cut ties - she said I would be dead in a couple of months if I kept on with her. I stayed away for a couple of years, allowed her back into my life on a limited basis, and set boundaries for the first time. (Townsend & Cloud, Boundaries)

When I set a firm boundary, she chose to remove herself from me rather than comply. It was reasonable - no loaded handguns lying on top of a purse unattended with little kids running around in MY house. She stayed away from me for 8 years, until Adult Protective Services called for me to rescue her.

Listening to Dr. Laura has been my aftercare (website pod casts are maybe $7 a month), and reading the posts here like these. When people say stupid things, you have to let them go, and let the guilt slide off too. These ladies have had the best advice I have heard since I had to start dealing with my mother in July.

PamelaSue, in real life, I also only refer to my mother by her real name. I never call her "my mother" or anything like that. She tore up her mother card a long time ago, and my grandmother was my real Mommy.
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I also in real life refer to my mother by her first name only. I know what the word mother means and it doesn't apply her. It didn't while I was growing up and it doesn't now that she is gone.
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