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Help! How do you keep from exploding. And if you don’t speak-up how do you keep from being eaten alive from the inside out? I’ve been on this Care sight for years, I’ve read tons of books and have seen a psychologist. I’ve heard all the recommendations about “taking care of myself”, I get it. I’m doing everything I can to save myself. BUT, I feel as if I’ve got a cement block tied to my ankle every day of my life, every minute of my life. Never, ever have I done so much for such abuse in return. With everyday that goes by my 90 year old mother gets nastier, more domineering, spiteful and divisive. She’s jealous and resentful of my friendships and has always attempted to create friction amongst her children.


She lives very well, independently and largely on my dime. I’ve bitten my tongue raw, internalized the stress and now I feel it’s affecting my health. It’s only gotten worse since the pandemic. I learned a while ago that when I express any frustration whatsoever it’s met with retaliation. I’m tired or venting to my friends, and it’s obvious they’re tired of hearing it. They listen and say, gee I’m sorry. I don’t know where to turn. I have six siblings who won’t deal with her and use her personality as their excuse. I’ve given up on thinking there’s any support there.


Can anyone tell me, an I wrong for not speaking up and then suffering the retaliation?

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It took me years to come to realize that I don’t have to put up with abuse from my mother. Years! Despite her dementia she’s is still as mean and manipulative and lying as she always has been. I manage her finances and put her in an AL. I blocked her phone calls. The facility can call me with updates or concerns. The last time I spoke with her and she started in with me I firmly but nicely told her she had to stop her behavior and she needs to be more grateful. Haven’t had contact with her since. And I won’t visit. I oversee her care, talk to her doctor and nurses, make good decisions about her finances, she has clothes and a nice safe place to live. She is clean and fed. I have done my part - more than she ever did for me as a child. I don’t need to take abuse as well. I didn’t cause her misery I don’t need it in my life. And complaining about it to others doesn’t help. See an elder care attorney and get some advice. If you are okay with her living on your dime then hire extra help and start speaking up for yourself. Remove yourself from her day to day. Otherwise find her another place to live with 24 hour oversight. You don’t need this abuse to continue. We are too old for this! We need to enjoy our lives and stop letting our parents continue to cause us misery.
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imtheparentnow Oct 1, 2020
Yes yes yes to this a million times! Good for you Mepowers! I wholeheartedly agree with you on all that you said. Thank you for saying it!
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My MIL is no longer a part of my life. We got a 'divorce' and it has been WONDERFUL to not have to deal with, see or talk to her.

Dh now has to go all alone to visit her and he comes home and lays on the bed with a pillow over his head. If he was capable of crying, I think he would.

After 45 years of h*ll with this harridan, I just HAD it, one Sunday afternoon. She was in full hysteria mode and screaming at ME, when I was asked a question, and I'd try to answer her, she'd scream at me to shut up! (DH was there, ignoring it as best he could.)

Something snapped.

While she was screaming at me, I grabbed a Diet Coke, patted her on the shoulder and said "I'm giving you the best gift you ever got. I'm leaving and I will never see you again. If that doesn't make you happy, I don't know what will." I exited and slammed the back door for emphasis.

Walked to my sister's (about 1/2 mile) and by the time I got there I was laughing pretty hard.

Dh was NOT amused, to say the least. He picked me up and said that his mother doesn't want me to sing at her funeral now.

Like I was going to in the first place.

Please don't go 45 years in fear/obligation/guilt to keep a relationship alive that has long since died.
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Countrymouse Sep 29, 2020
What, not even ding dong the witch is dead?
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Please, for the sake of your own health and sanity, tell your mother that you are no longer going to care for her and why.

Leave.

Block her phone number. No one deserves this level of abuse.

Please read the book "Boundaries" by Townsend and Cloud. Read up on Fear, Obligation and Guilt, also known as F.O.G. Read about children of narcissistic parents.

Your siblings have figured this out. I think you should too.

Either your mother can pay for her own care or she can get public assistsnce like Medicaid to deal with that. This is NOT your job.
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Amazedin2020 Oct 1, 2020
Wow! Thank you for the resources! I am in a similar situation and I am glad I checked the discussion board today. When I told my father I was done; he said he needed help. He’s 90 and ailing and she is plain nasty and ailing. Both narcissistic. I may choose not to leave, but with the emotional arsenal you provided; I don’t see how I can lose. This is good news. Thanks again!
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With a woman like this, you are going to 'suffer the retaliation' one way or another. Whether you stay, pay her way, continue to be her doormat, or whether you say ENOUGH and vamoose on out of there. Right? One way or another, You Lose. But, if you leave, you lose LESS. Less financially, certainly, and a lot less emotionally. The cost is way too high to continuously subject yourself to this level of abuse, so ask yourself why you're doing this? Your siblings recognize her toxic personality as a deal-breaker for them, and they've bowed out, leaving you to do everything. Which doesn't mean you 'have to' do anything, you are choosing to.

And, what about YOUR retirement? If mother is living largely off of YOUR money, what happens to the savings you should be accruing to use yourself for later on in life? Women like this live to be 100 because they use others to release their stress on. WE are the ones to die young because of it.

Wise up before it's too late. Realize why your siblings are doing what they're doing, and either remove yourself from the situation entirely or set down some VERY strict boundaries as to what you will and will not do for her. And then stick to those rules like GLUE. One tiny little crack in the armor and BAM, she'll slither back in like a snake. It's how they roll.

Good luck!
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Amazedin2020 Oct 1, 2020
Thank you for your post. I am not the complainant, but my situation is eerily similar, if not exactly. This has helped me tremendously to know how to preserve MY peace. My siblings preserve their peace by not being here, so, what do I do with my choice? This empowered me, thank you!
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I guess you have been told you are not going to change her so you need to change how you deal with her. Since siblings do not have anything to do with her, I will assume she has been like this all her life. Your siblings have chose to set boundries and back off from her. But there always seems to be one child that even though abused, comes back for more. The one who has some empathy? Maybe looking for something from Mom that they never got. "If I show her I love her and do for her maybe she will finally love and appreciate me". Does Mom fit the meaning of Narcissist, if she does she will never show love. Its all about them. You need to back away. Call her once a day to see if everything is fine. When she starts in tell her "I am hanging up Mom" and hang up. Visit when you feel you can deal with her. Just because she is your Mom doesn't mean that you can't tell her "You know Mom you are the nastiest most unappreciative person I know. Do you realize you wouldn't be where you are if it weren't for me. Your other children don't care. I care and all you do it complain."

Your problem is you have allowed it to fester. Which is not good. You need to tell her how you feel. Mother or not. I would also tell her if she doesn't change her ways, you will be backing off and maybe eventually pulling the financial aid too. She will die a very lonely old lady. Tell her there are HUD apts that charge rent by scale. She has 1000 in income she pays 30% of that for rent. Low income apts too. You can do this in a calm, even manor. No need to raise your voice. Sit in front of her and look her straight in the eyes. If she gets mad she gets mad. She can't do anything to you. By paying her way you are the one holding the bag and this is what she needs to realize. That without you footing the bill she would not be living the way she is. She is lucky to have one of her children care and look how she treats him. I see no problem in a little threat with some people. Sometimes you can get thru others you can't. Once you say this to her, then you can set boundries. When and what you will do for her. When she gets nasty, hang up the phone or walk out. No one says u must pick up her calls or we can't walk away. Blocking is so nice because you don't know they have tried to call. Its time you took the bull by the horn. Start out saying "I have let ur abuse go on for too long..."
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I say in a loving way: What you Allow, Continues.
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EEMFLA, Paul Theroux not long ago wrote a book called Motherland. I have to say I absolutely hated this book, but he is a very highly regarded writer, and his theme was the impact on her children of their mother (this is why I hated it, you see): the mother being a vicious, scheming, malicious, poisonous sadist according to him/the narrator; and a woman frustrated and overburdened by wife-and-motherhood and not handling it very well, if you ask me.

Anyway.

The reason I mention it is that I wonder what feelings it might arouse in you. In your replies to people's answers, you constantly refer to your belief (which I wholly share) in treating others with respect and how that is not working for you.

This leads me to believe that what has perhaps become distorted, terribly distorted, is your definition of what constitutes respect, and where its limits are, and how you can behave kindly - but simultaneously with *self*-respect - when those limits are seriously exceeded.

Why do you constantly bite your tongue? Let's take an example: your mother says something spiteful to you, and hurts your feelings. If your impulse is to swear at her in retaliation and say something equally hurtful back at her, then yes - bite your tongue. Don't do that! But that doesn't mean there is anything wrong at all - quite the opposite - in challenging what your mother says and, in a dignified and fair way, even rebuking her.

Do say more about what's happening and what you think. Don't give up. It might be too late to make your mother more comfortable (behaviour like this often stems from internalised rage and pain), but it's not too late for you.
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You are putting up with someone who is abusive and punishing. Everyone else has recognized reality and moved away from this person. You have chosen, even after therapy and the help of all NOT to take yourself out of this horrible person's orbit. People are only recognizing that this, indeed is your choice. Finally there is nothing left but to say "I am so sorry" (and truly I am).
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EEMFLA Sep 29, 2020
Thank you for your reply. As the sole caregiver to someone who lives alone and is not currently medically eligible for financial assistance to be placed in a care facility, or financially equipped to do it on her own, perhaps I’m overlooking how I remove myself from “her orbit”.
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I am so sorry that you have had nothing but misery with your mom.

It sounds as if you are hanging on by a thread. Watch out, threads break!

I see that you did reach out to a professional. That’s great. Do you mind sharing what was said? One thing my therapist said to me that really helped was, “I may say things that you don’t want to hear. Listen anyway or leave!”

I did listen. Guess what? Those things were exactly what I needed to hear and shocked me into changing my outlook. I urge you to consider what your therapist said as being useful.

Take a breather! I didn’t even breathe properly when I was completely stressed. I wasn’t even aware of it until my therapist told me that I would speak without breathing and then all of a sudden gasp for air. The breathing exercises that he taught me helps tremendously under stress.

What helps the most is to start being open to positive change. Your mom has lived most of her life, right? You said yourself, very well too, right? Isn’t your life worth just as much?

Be open to start living your life well. Your mom abused you. You don’t deserve that. She is being manipulative because she is getting away with it. Guess who told me that? Yep, my therapist informed me that he saw a pattern of manipulation from my mom.

My therapist wasn’t a person that was quick to judge. He knew mom’s behavior wasn’t due to having a bad day, it was a solid pattern that had formed.

It was up to me to change. She wasn’t going to change. Make sense? I don’t have all the answers to anyone’s problems but I did deal with a mom who caused me misery and I can empathize with you.

You need more than empathy from us on the forum. The only thing that will stop the misery is to not allow your mom to have you jumping through a million hoops!

Tell her that her free ride is over and that you are going on a journey of your own.

The more knowledge you have the more that you will grow. Be open to what can help you.

Best wishes to you.
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EEMFLA Sep 29, 2020
Thanks for your reply. Yes, I need to take a different approach. Treating others with respect and as I wish to be treated is not working in this situation, perhaps it did at one point. It sounds as if you got much more from your therapist than I did. In fact, I stopped seeing her realizing she wasn’t helping or offering actionable suggestions. I’ve been looking for someone who specializes in caregivers, or some closely related field without much luck. Did your therapist have experience in a specific discipline? Thanks.
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Someone said you can’t change the behavior of another person, but you can change your reaction to the
at behavior. You don’t give many details but sounds like it’s time to step back and minimize communication with your mom.

And Freud said the definition of insanity is repeating an action over and over and expecting a different outcome. Your Mom isn’t going to change so you can only change the way you react to her nastiness. What would you do if she want related to you?

Vent your frustrations here, find a support group, find a therapist. Stop using your friends for venting unless they ask, give a quick update and change the subject.
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