How long can you go on feeling like you're responsible for their happiness (when you give up your own)? - AgingCare.com

How long can you go on feeling like you're responsible for their happiness (when you give up your own)?

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My mother puts a heavy weight/guilt/blame for just about everything that occurs in her life... Not only is it time-consuming, but it's effected my health, friends and any kind of social life I had (or could have had)... Then, if she gets sick (which she'll 'blame' me for)... I am even more sick... My mind is a mental wreck... So, is it right for a grown 'child' to have to be responsible for their parents happiness?... (for the past 10 years I've been living 'her' life, with little time for my own... She has to get 'into' everything I'm doing... )

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We can't be responsible for our elderly parent's happiness. The minute we take that on and begin to think we are is the minute we start to self-destruct little by little. The relationship becomes toxic and we become sick from breathing in the fumes everyday.
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You were NEVER responsible for your mom's happiness (or lack thereof). Only your mom can make herself happy. You need to work on setting boundaries and when she starts that crap, leave the room and quit taking it. Only stick around and engage with her when she's being nice to you. If you don't "play" she'll have to quit her negative behavior to get what she needs from you. And she needs you!

At this point, YOU have all of the power, only you don't realize that yet. So start with small steps and work on shutting her down when she's being negative/critical towards you. If she doesn't have an audience, her negativity will be floating in the wind for no one to hear. Which is how it should be.

So walk out, leave, but before you do, say, "Mom, you're treating me badly now, so I'm going to leave. When I come back, if you start in, I'll leave again." And stick to it! You can just leave the room or leave your house...whichever works for you. Just don't engage when she starts in on you. Good luck!
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She is playing the guilt card, but you don't have to pick it up. Talk to her MD about her destructive behavior and see if he can't give her an antidepressant. Tell her it is for her blood pressure, because it will help that too. Counselors told us to pull back, only visit her once a week, and to leave when the conversation gets ugly. Make her take responsibility for her own health. Tell her she is responsible for her own happiness. Happiness is inside you, or it does not exist at all. It's never the responsibility of someone else. No one has the right to emotionally abuse you. When they do, get up and get out.
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Happiness comes from within, people in miserable circumstances can be happy. Rich people in idillic enviable lives can be depressed, as proven by the not too unusual celebrity overdose or suicide.
Lack of companionship can make you depressed, but companionship cannot break depression. No, you cannot entertain her into happiness. Know that and let that guide you in setting boundaries, allow yourself to let go of the guilt.
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The books listed below helped me so much with what you are talking about. Its taken me years to understand why I feel such a guilt and responsibility towards my parents. When I started reading these books it was like a light went off and I felt like I could breathe. Everyone has choices and your mom has choices. The only person you can truly change is yourself and how you deal with the abuse they dish out. You can't change them. But as you change yourself and its hard in the beginning. They will die if you leave...life isn't worth living. You have to keep strong and use this site to know that you are making boundaries and getting healthier for yourself. Nobody can do it for you. I used to think that at some point my parents would wake up and realize what they had been doing to me. Nope. I had to change. With me changing they changed and after time b/c they couldn't push the same buttons the had before. Best wishes! Start doing one think today for youself. A walk, meditate, paint your nails...something. Hugs!

Toxic Parents: Overcoming their hurtful legacy and reclaiming your life by Susan Forward
Emotional Blackmail: When the people in your life use fear, obligation, and guilt to manipulate you by Susan Forward
An Adults guide to what’s normal by John Freil
Silently Seduced by Kenneth Adams
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How long can you go on feeling like you're responsible for their happiness (when you give up your own)?

Just as long as you are willing to. You are not and never have been responsible for someone else's happiness, but you are entitled to feel that way or not, as you choose.
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I watched Queen Victoria's Children, in three parts, on Youtube. I thought it was going to be a historical documentary and was amazed to find it was the story of my family. Queen Victoria seems to have written the guidebook for narcissistic mothers. She had nine children, didn't want them to be friends with each other or have outside friends, infantilized her adult children and held grudges against them for their whole lives concerning events from their adolescence. She had one weapon our mothers never had though. She was queen and would accuse her children of treason if they did anything she didn't like. She micromanaged their lives and even the lives of daughters-in-law, prescribing how many minutes they could go out driving.

I am amazed at how many daughters on this website suffer from this family structure that makes narcissism so easy for parents. If Queen Victoria set such an example, then other families must have felt they had permission and encouragement to imitate her. I am also amazed at how this crap gets passed on from generation to generation with remarkably little change. It's time to move past Queen Victoria.

Anyway if you have time watch Queen Victoria's Children. I got goosebumps from all the flashes of recognition I was experiencing while watching it.
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In the last week or so I have begun to sound like a broken record because I just keep saying ' this is not my responsibility - it is yours.' Having grown up in a family where it was ' my job' to keep my mother contented, I am finally calling her out on it. Maybe your mother is like mine - I believe that either Narcissist or perhaps Borderline personality runs in her family, and being constantly on edge for keeping things going smoothly has worn me down.
Leave the room when she starts - that's what I have started doing. Good luck
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P.S. you need to start living your OWN life too! Get out and spend time with friends and create your own positive environment which will also work to lessen the effects you feel from your mom's criticisms. You deserve your own happy life!
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Overwhelm....it was an accident...let it go. We are our own worse enemies. You are responsible for only your happiness.
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