My mother is 96 and stills lives in her own home. My two siblings live right next door and my mother is cared for by my brother. I live about 30 miles away. Here’s the “problem.” My brother has babied my mother so much that she expects - no, DEMANDS - the same from everyone in her life. My SIL despises her because my brother has done more for my mother than for his own wife and my sister REFUSES to do anything to help because my mother makes up lies about how sick she is and whines constantly. I’m the baby and my mother uses guilt with me to manipulate me. I seriously don’t want to visit her but I do see her at least once a week and I talk to her everyday. But it always ends with her telling me how “critical” her situation is or making up some exaggerated story about something health-wise that’s happened to her. We can never talk about anything but her pains or near death experience. If I don’t go every week then I get to hear how awful I am. I am seriously sick to death of her but I still feel guilty for not seeing her more. But when I do spend the day with her I end up regretting the trip. She is and has always been a drama queen and a hypochondriac and that’s not going to change. I’m literally at my wits end and don’t know what to do. Getting angry is not the solution. If she’s half as sick as she claims, she needs to be in a NH, but my brother refuses to even talk about it, and quite frankly my mother thinks we all need to give up every spare second to sit with her 24 hours a day.

At your moms age and with the conditioning she’s had from your brother, the one sure thing in this is that she’s not going to change. The needed change has to come from you, and there’s no chance she’s going to understand. It doesn’t make you a bad daughter, or uncaring person to limit your contact and take care of yourself. When the phone calls turn to the negative get off the phone. Keep the visits brief and when you want to do them. You’re an adult and don’t owe anyone an explanation for your actions, make the changes best for you, and lose the guilt
Helpful Answer (8)
Reply to Daughterof1930
Dianne38 Feb 27, 2019
Such good advice:)
Your Mom needs to appreciate what she has. Not many people are lucky to have their kids close by. Not sure if you need to cut back. But, you may want to tell Mom when u visit that u rather not talk about her illnesses. Tell her you understand she is not well, but lets talk about other things. If she continues to talk about her illness cut ur visit short. If possible tell her you are on this forum where people have a number of children and only one cares for them. The others don't even visit.
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Reply to JoAnn29

Since the attention you already give her is not adequate with her and causing you distress I think you should begin to cut back on the time you do spend on her. I feel for your SIL but she has to address that with your brother. He is choosing to cater to her demands. If she complains to you further you could state your reasons. She is fortunate to have children near who have shown care yet she shows no gratitude and it seems hasn't for many years. You do not need to add guilt to your situation. She has created all this unpleasantness. You are upset now. Why continue to make yourself more so? She obviously cannot be pleased no matter the amount of attention received so give her less and help yourself by beginning to distance yourself.
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Reply to Riverdale
Isabelle2012 Feb 24, 2019
Thank you for that!! You’re right. She cannot be pleased no matter how much time I spend or what I did. Plus she has no concern for any obligation or choice any of us make. I work two full-time jobs (both out of town from where I live) but she seriously could care less. It’s just “what are you going to do for me.”
Your mother is being taken care of, right? So you have no obligations other than what you want.  Mom wants this, that and the other.  So What? You do what you wish to do and you need feel no guilt. Fact is she drives people away.  Not your fault, is it?
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Reply to rovana
Madsad Mar 1, 2019
My mother lives with me. I take her EVERYWHERE she needs to go and make sure she has everything she needs. My sister lives 3 doors down, visits every few months and contributes. NOTHING. I imagine your response is exactly how she feels. Must be nice.
If I were you, and with all due respect, I'd thank God I wasn't the one solely responsible for moms care. Ninety six is pretty old, even under the best circumstances, so I'm guessing she does have some health issues. It sounds like she wants and needs attention and will say whatever needed to get the attention. Living alone would not be easy.I think you have got some good Ideas here, but I will say its not so easy to cut off your mom. She gave you life and visiting a few times a week wouldn't be forever. Most of us here live with LO and on duty 24\7, so it sounds like you have set some boundaries. Maybe stick to what your already doing. No one wants to live with guilt when all of sudden they aren't there and you can't go see them. Best of luck.
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Reply to Dianne38

I do sympathize. It's very stressful and wrong.....drives me crazy too. I read a lot about people that behave like your mother does. (I have one like it in my family. Not the LO I have who has dementia. Separate family member.) The thing is, they aren't likely to change. So, the only thing I can change is how I react. I made up my mind that she won't push my buttons. I chose to let her comments roll off my back. I developed a strategy for dealing with her. It's not perfect, but, it helps.

I stay positive and if she speaks of illness, pain, etc. I either say nothing, change the subject or say calmly, Take it up with your doctor. I never respond in any other way. I don't even ask how she's feeling, because, I know that she's sicker than she's ever been in her life, every day of the week.

I will say that one of the best things that seems to keep her off whining is giving her compliments. I try to make sure they are genuine, like, mom, I was just thinking about how great you used to be at golf. You sure were a good golf player or man, you sure do cook good apple pie. This appeals to her ego and she may stay positive for awhile.

But, if she returns to negative stuff, I just end the conversation. I won't be pulled down. If it's too toxic, I'd discuss with a counseling about limiting contact. To me, it's about lowering my expectations. I know that my LO is not going to change and one day, she won't be around at all, so, I'll just try to endure. lol Good luck. I know it's so hard.
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Reply to Sunnygirl1

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