How do I stop feeling like a child around my mother, although I have a family of my own?

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I was supposed to wake my mother for church today, but overslept. Strangely I did set the alarm to get up, and according to my husband I _did_ get up. He then went back to sleep and I have no recollection _at all_ what I did. Probably just shut off the alarm and went back to bed myself. But I did not wake my mother up. Now she's at church, her phone is shut off, and I swear that she's fuming. I'm terrified of her anger, even though I'm an independent adult. She uses phrases like "You never care about anything," and "You always forget to do something except when it's your own need." She also accuses me of lying. Basically nothing I say will pacify her. We've had a meltdown recently and things are still very tense, and now I did this again. Tiny things escalate to the point of huge fights, and I'm depressed and anxious about another one coming. I can't stand up for myself without snapping, which makes it worse. I end up raising my voice because I'm scared. Does anyone have that happen to them? How do you deal? I feel like I'm loosing my memory from stress, and I'm way to young for this (under 30).

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@mywitsend - we also put a TV in my mom's room before she moved in - I thought she would want to have some peace and quiet some evenings (since my daughter and grandson were also living here at that time & it gets hectic in this house..which is how I love it, but she can't stand "the noise" children make), but nope...it's never been turned on because "only lazy people watch TV in their bedrooms." :o/ I could go on and on bitching and moaning about one thing or another, but I think the bottom line is that at some point we have to take a stand and let our Moms (or Dads) know that while we appreciate their advice once in awhile, we don't appreciate being told how to run our house. I have to remind myself that we managed to raise our children without her daily input, and they all turned out great, so we must've done something right...though you'd never know it by the comments she makes about me/us. I honestly think she has "negative nelly syndrome" - nothing is ever good enough, nothing will ever BE good enough, and I need to just let it go in one ear and out the other or it will drive me to drink.
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Southerngirl- I am a big believer in picking your battles. But, when someone is so opinionated and stubborn on everything, just picking your battles is exhausting. And how do you balance doing something for your parent and the rest of the members of your household? I have always gone with the idiosyncrisies when she visits, but now she is living here. My cupboards are getting rearranged to what she likes. Our meals are now what she likes. The only place to watch something non-PBS is our bedroom. I got her a tv, but she doesn't like watching in her bedroom. We are cutting back on social events because my husband feels guilty. It is depressing when your sanctuary is somewhere you now don't always want to be.
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I think that it simply takes so much energy to try to "push back" when the parent starts trying to take over. In the long run, I think the answer is to prioritize what you can "give and take" on, and stand your ground on what you absolutely dont want to change in your household. Its called "picking your battles" and it is not always easy. My mom likes all the lights out--it saves energy she says--. We like a lot of light on. So we have compromised and try to keep most uneccessary lights off, and when she goes to bed around 6 pm, we go through the house turning them all back on!! LOL. You just have to figure out if the issue is worth the tension or the argument and then go from there. If you can look at the compromise as something you are doing FOR your parent, you can at least feel better about it.
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Purplesushi- we have the opposite problem. She prefers to eat around 8. Dinner is now getting later and later. She also is very picky. I do not know how she would survive AL. Her plate must now be warmed before the food goes on it. Her bread must be cut to a specific thickness. Do it wrong, and she gets very upset. I keep looking for the hotel sign in front of our house. On the tv, this is somewhat mean, but I have on occassion, told my teenage son to turn on whatever he wants to watch while grandma is at the store. It drives her crazy when she gets home and sees we're not watching one of her shows.
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@MyWitsEnd...Don't get me started on the meals! haha! (I swear the woman ONLY eats carbs - hardly any meat or veggies - almost all "macaroni"/potatoes/toast/ cup of noodles, etc. She gets upset when we eat at the ungodly hour of 6 pm or sometimes 7 (when we are hungry) when the "time" to eat dinner is 5:00 whether she's hungry or not - and why are you making me eat alone??? (ugh.). When 4:00 rolls around I can almost count the minutes until she asks what I'm making for dinner...I started saying "We're not hungry yet - what do you want?" and I make her something to eat if we didn't already have something going & ready early enough for her to eat, but that we could eat later (beef stew, chili, etc. is perfect for that) and I'll sit at the table with her reading the paper or whatever so she has company. It took me a long time to stand up for myself and tell her I'm not forcing myself to eat dinner when I'm not hungry anymore. As for her diet - I thought my kids were picky - holy cow. I've about given up on getting her to eat healthy food because there is always something wrong with SOMETHING (well that's a whole different subject...)- now that she is in a SNF that's about all I hear about when I talk to her is how horrible their food is & that she can't wait to come home so she can eat some "real food"....oh lord give me strength....lol!
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Purplesushi-I have the same issue, only it is my MIL. The family room is now hers. She dictates what is watched on tv. She is starting to dictate what we eat and when. She is taking over, and we are letting her. There is nothing I can do that doesn't illicite advice on how to do it better. (Some of her advice is completely ridiculous.) She definately makes my husband feel like a kid. I see him trying so hard to please her (impossible). I have a feeling he is going to have a meltdown at some point. I know I'd like some semblance of our life back. I am quietly turning a bonus room into a second family room. We need our own space. I cannot take one more evening of Jeopardy and PBS!
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southerngirl said: "You are your mom's child, but you are not "A child". You are grown. You are in charge. Just know this when you start feeling like a little child. I think a lot of times the parent does this just to feel a little bit in control. While this is understandable just remember you don't have to "buy in" to the exchange."

You are SO RIGHT, but it is so hard to do sometimes. We were raised to respect them because they are our parents and we lived in their home, so had to abide by their rules, etc. and now that the shoe is on the other foot, I think it's hard for them to see we are no longer children. I get that, I really do. My mom was in an SNF for a couple of months at the beginning of the year, and when she was gone I was excited because I could watch what I wanted to watch IN MY OWN HOME on MY OWN TV again...I thought to myself "how ridiculous is this...she moved in and completely took over EVERYTHING and we let her!!!" Soooo while she was at the SNF, we rearranged the formal livingroom (which we never used anyways), brought some of her furniture over from her storage locker, and set it up as her own livingroom. I told her I thought she would be more comfortable with her own furniture and this way she didn't have to deal with our dogs (another bone of contention...she HATES dogs, and we have 2 fur-babies that are NOT going to be tossed outside for her benefit) since there is a gate separating that half of the house (so they don't bother the cats). I'll tell you what - this was the BEST decision we made and I swear it saved my sanity! She's got her own TV, recliner, etc. and that room is closer to the bathroom, which is something she also needed. That REALLY took a lot of the stress off of me, and I didn't have to tell her that I did it because she was driving me insane...whatever works, right?? heehee!
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My mom lives with me and many times will confront me on how I do something in my own home. She wants to tell me how I should take care of my husband, how I should run the household etc. I have been in more arguments with her than I can count--trying to defend myself and the way I do things. On top of this she has had some problems with seeing, and hearing things that aren't really there. As a result she has taken me to task for arguing with my husband and not "treating him right". My husband and I haven't had 5 arguments in 5 years!! It is so frustrating trying to explain myself to my mom and to try to convince her that my marriage is fine. Over time with MUCH coaching from my husband, I have learned to JUST NOT RESPOND when she gets like this.... my husband tells me "just don't take the bait". This is ABSOLUTELY the way to handle this. You are your mom's child, but you are not "A child". You are grown. You are in charge. Just know this when you start feeling like a little child. I think a lot of times the parent does this just to feel a little bit in control. While this is understandable just remember you don't have to "buy in" to the exchange.
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Thank you all. My husband and I are renting, so maybe I feel like a child because I don't actually *own* my home. The only way for us to buy a house is to take financial assistance from her, which I don't want to do because I will never see the end of it. I don't ever want to hear from her that we "used" her, or took her money because she's a "cash cow." My husband and I are ok financially. I only fear that she will start pressing us into buying a home, forcing her money on us, and then turning around and blaming us for being moochers.
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atcat: I think NancyH summed it up beautifully. Can your mom set her own alarm clock. Can she have a church friend call with a wake up call on Sundays? I think you need to set some boundaries with her. Have a talk with her and explain that you are happy to have her with you, but you expect her to do some things on her own. You know in your heart what is reasonable, so I'm sure you can make a sensible list. Please tell her that certain things she says are not acceptable and if she would like to live elsewhere, you will help her find a better place. You can't live in fear of upsetting her. She's in your home now, not hers. And like it or not, she is there due to your kindness. I don't think it's wrong to tell her that you expect some kindness in return.

Purplesushi: We all feel guilty when taking care of a parent. We are not them, we don't live like they lived. We have our own ways and that is OK. It's our home and this is how we live. Reinforce that in a kind but firm fashion.

I loved my dad, he passed this past September. My mom passed in 2008 so after that I would have him over every night for dinner. (They lived across the driveway from us) Well, I have hardwood floors and every winter it snows and he would track snow all across my house walking to the dining room. I would never complain and would lay down a trail of towels for him to walk on, plus one under his chair. Then, for a reason I can't remember, we ended up eating dinner at the kitchen table one night. My dad went on to tell me that he preferred the kitchen to the dining room. That was fine, but he did it in a way that made me feel badly. It was like he criticized the fact that I had a dining room and questioned what I was trying to "put on." It had never occurred to me that he would feel that way. In retrospect I have to laugh that here I was cooking dinner for him, picking the things that he liked to eat, giving up time with my husband and all he could say was he didn't like the room he was eating in. Well excuse me for being a bad daughter!!

From then on we ate in the kitchen. Much shorter towel trail for me. We continued our after dinner cribbage games and all was well as far as I know. Still, his words stung my heart. I'm not scared by them, it just seemed so unkind in the face of what I was trying to offer.

The last year of my dad's life, he lived under our roof due to a severe stroke. I miss him a lot now that he is gone and I am trying to get my life back on a course more natural to me than the past 7 years of taking care of parents.

For those of you who have parents in their homes, you really do need to set some boundaries and remind them, kindly, that this is your home and you do things in your own way.

Hope some of this is useful to you. Best wishes, Cattails
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