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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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I feel so sorry for you and at the same time I am so relieved to read that someone else's mother is just as awful as mine. I want to run away forever from her. She has turned all my siblings against each other. No one speaks to me in the family. She calls me only when there is a problem. Only my husband knows how truly horrible she can be to me. She has ruined or tried to ruin every good day in my life, every birthday and Christmas, my graduation and my Wedding Day. But I am the only child that has sorted out her finances and got her carers and helped her live in comfort. I can't do anymore. I get no thanks. Just snide remarks. But I know that deep in my heart when she dies, she is 89 years old I will have no regret that I could have been a better daughter. I couldn't. Neither could you. I am the daughter of a Narcissist mother and I survived. God bless you with your continuing struggle and know that you are not alone.
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I don't care who it is that is acting out and abusive - even God and the devil. It does NOT matter in the least. You MUST STOP THEM AND PUT THEM IN THEIR PLACE AT ONCE AND NOT TOLERATE THIS. Why can't people see that? Why do they hold it all in and be harmed and their lives destroyed and it will happen. DO NOT ACCEPT INTOLERABLE BEHAVIOR FROM ANYONE EVER, AND I DON'T CARE WHY OR HOW - DON'T DO IT. When I hear about some of the horrible situations people find themselves in because they are a "caretaker" or are otherwise (so they think) responsible for someone, that does not mean they should put up with crap. I have been through so much in my life from early childhood and am a real survivor of so much. It took me half of my life to wake up to the above facts and finally fight back. It took guts and time but over a period of time, I was happier, more content and a better more respected person. No one messes with me - I don't deserve it. You must demand and receive respect and if you are not getting it, REMOVE THE SOURCE OF THE PROBLEM. Oh, my heart goes out to all who are suffering because of these people. I am so sorry but you must be strong and remove them or otherwise sever the ties. They are not worth it any longer. The past is gone if it was different. Think of N O W.
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Reply to Riley2166
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Dear EEMFLA,
I'm sorry to hear about what you are experiencing. I'm not sure about your Mother's health. My Mom is acting this way, and we would often have arguments as she was very accusatory towards me. Say awful things to me and because of it I didn't trust her to be alone with my 3 year old daughter. Since then we have been able to get her to a neurologist that diagnosed her with dementia. Is has helped to know and understand what is going on with her and what she says most of the time rolls off me and I do what I need to do, but I don't live with her. I don't engage any of her comments at any time, seems to just add fuel to the fire.

A friend of mine that I was actually talking to today, said my Mother knows I will never leave her and will do what I can do to help her no matter what. Because of her diagnoses, she also said that she doesn't understand what she is saying and how it is coming out. Its different then what she wants to say in her mind.

If you have siblings, they should be responsible for her as much as you are. If there are 6 of you break up the calendar, 2 months each for each one to take care of her. Even if they live out of town, can your Mother go there and stay with them for 2 months? If not, will they help you, financially, in providing more care to your Mother so you have more time to your self? You need the break, time to your self and I know it is not easy.

I hope this provides you some help, wish I could be more helpful to you.

Good luck!
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RosieJuly2020 Oct 14, 2020
Are there any medications the doctor can prescribe to help with the anger, depression, etc.?
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My dear, I was once you. I held it all in and over time, it nearly killed me. Details don't matter any longer but one day I lost it and exploded and from that day, I swore I would never again allow this abuse. It took guts and time but I finally succeeded. Now I never, ever let anyone "off the hook" if they abuse me. I end the problem at once and if it continues, they are dead meat and I never look back. It is the ONLY way you can protect yourself from harm and abuse. People don't want to hear the problems over time as they feel sorry but are helpless to fix things. Get help professionally to be strong but NEVER AGAIN LET SOMEONE WALK ALL OVER YOU. Let it all out and do NOT hold back.
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Riley2166 Oct 2, 2020
I forgot, if they retaliate or try to retaliate.....stand your ground, repeat you are finished and will no longer tolerate the abuse. Shut up or get out of your life forever. And then do what you must to break the ties. Why do you have to fear retaliation - get rid of them and never look back. That is YOUR ONLY SOLUTION. I know, been there, done that - and now I am so much better and happier. It does not matter WHO it is - they are harming you so leave.
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You have to be a saint to take abuse voluntarily, unless a moral obligation would prevent you from abandoning a person like you describe. Lives very well largely on your dime, and she is blind to the fact? That’s called ungrateful, family or not. Money can arrange a place, or persons to attend to her needs, but here in USA sometimes can be very expensive, unless good insurance is available for In Home Care. You already exceeded all expectations of being a great daughter. It is time to diplomatically sever the ties, if she has some thinking power left, she’ll realize she wore out the one that cared the most. Sad to depart, but why should you deteriorate in so many ways? Time to fade away or pray for a miracle. Whichever comes sooner. Let her vent her frustrations to someone else. You done enough for someone who is not appreciative. Best of everything!
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Reply to Chizzle
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Im in the same boat only I live with my mother, she has dementia that is daily worsening, I am her only caregiver and have no help, and anytime I leave the house she is with me. So I've not had a break from my mother in 4+ years. She's become so nasty and after 6 1/2 years of it I just fight right back. I realize I'm trying to resolve things from long ago with someone who is incapable of even having a sane, realistic conversation. We are very, very different and after a lifetime of watching her manipulate everyone, me included, I'm just not having it anymore.

I wonder the same things you're wondering but since she doesn't live with you you have the ability to pull back, lessen your time with her. I wish I could do that. Right now, after a week of total stress, heartbreak, work issues, family issues, my own health issues, I think if I left this house tonight I would never want to come back and wouldn't want to see or be around my mother anymore. After losing my siblings, my dad, my marriage, my home and basically my life, I am beyond exhausted. If I had it to do over again I would try harder to find other arrangements instead of becoming her caregiver. Trying to be a good caregiver and trying to be a good daughter has only made me unable to be either.

Please take advantage of the fact she's not living with you, lessen your exposure to her, and not only will you feel better but it may even help your relationship with her.
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Reply to alpr323
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Dear EEMFLA,

You've gotten yourself in a real pickle here by not taking a stand before now. She's got no other resources except for you and she's too old to expect her to change now, but you can change yourself to help you feel better by limiting your contact with her. There's no point in spending time with her just to be abused.

I'm assuming she talks rude to you and complains a lot. She probably has mood swings she takes out on you. (I'm guessing because you didn't say exactly how she makes you crazy.)

Nobody has the right to make you feel bad. You are important too. When she starts in on you, tell her one time in a calm voice, that you don't appreciate her attitude when you try so hard to please her and if she isn't going to be nice, you are going to leave. And do so.

The next time, tell her I've told you before to be nice I'm going to leave now.

After she begins to see you'll stand up for yourself (if she ever does) you can start teaching her some manners like 'please' and 'thank you.'

No one is happy about this situation but civility is the key to getting along with anybody. She's unhappy too but she gets to take it out on you. Don't let her.

CharK
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Reply to CharK60
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My husband and I sold our dream house and moved 3000 miles so that I could spend some time with my mother in her final years. That was 5 years ago. There are parts of "care-giving" that I do because I choose to do them. The point of the move, etc., was to have some last memories with Mom. We were not super close, but there were some good times. I now have the opportunity to relive a few of those and make a few new ones before she passes on.

No, we are not bonding into any super mother-daughter relationship. I truly believe that if that didn't happen before the age of 16 it will never happen. We are having some nice times, some of which sort of answer for some of the bad times in my childhood.

My older sister, always Mom's preferred child, would like me to be more active in Mom's care. I refuse because I didn't give up my home and move all this way to be a slave. Also, sometimes Mom gets crabby. When she does I tell her I am sorry she is having a bad day and end the visit. Sometimes we both have a really good day together and it makes us both feel more like the family I wish we had been.

There is absolutely no reason why you need to take any abuse from your mother. If you are getting nothing out of the experience, probably you aren't that much use to her either. Let her take her frustrations out by smacking her pillow. The mere fact that a person is a relative does not mean that you are compelled to do anything for them. If there is to be any meaning in the term "family" it must represent mutual concern and respect. You deserve that.

Good luck and hugs. I hope you can break the cycle of abuse. It can be really hard, but I am sure you can make the changes you need.
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NeedHelpWithMom Oct 1, 2020
Such a great attitude and response!
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Imho, it is IMPERATIVE that you take care of yourself, else you fall faint and ill and are good to no one. Prayers sent.
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Reply to Llamalover47
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would you take that abuse from anyone else and not say anything? If not why take it from your mom?
And I have to ask why is she "living well, independently on your dime"? If she needs your financial support stop and begin the process for the help she needs.
If she is mentally competent you can explain you are no longer going to tolerate the abuse and she needs to cut it on her own. Start a budget she can stay within.
She can start taking her frustrations out on your siblings. When you are with her as soon as she starts get up and walk out. No matter where you are or who is there just leave.
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Reply to Grandma1954
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I get this also- mother lives alone but i go for dr appts . She calls and rants too. So i have limited calls to once a week and write her letters otherwise to share about family news.
Point is I backed off seeing her and it helps my mental health alot. I think it is the injustice of trying to help and getting negativity that drives us crazy. So yes limit seeing her .
Or do the psychology of once she starts ranting , every time say --Mother i will count and if i hear 3 rude comments i am leaving. If she continues say "2" and then "3" and then walk out. ( if you have to, go back in an hour- if not then wait a day or 2) I found that my mother is lonely so if i cut communication she gets humble and nice the next time she talks to me.
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You mentioned that she is jealous of your friends. You know what I found strange at first about when friends came to see me? Mom loved my friends and would come out of her room and socialized with them. Any other time she spent a lot of time in her room.

She would be sweet as pie when my friends were over too. They thought that she was great and sometimes she was great. She had a mixture of good and bad qualities. I really like what my grandma always said, “There is good in bad in all of us.” So true!

Sometimes it would bug me when mom wanted to spend time with my friends. I wanted time alone with them but mom could be charming and my friends loved her stories.

If my friends had only seen her when they weren’t around! I didn’t want to keep bringing up her negativity to them. It didn’t help me and made them uncomfortable. That’s what I paid my therapist for! He got to hear it all. LOL

I hated my mom creating friction among siblings too. So much damage was done and we no longer speak to each other and I am fine with that. Mom wasn’t completely to blame! Not all of us are blessed with great siblings.

You know, my mom was so fortunate. She did have fabulous siblings and incredible parents. She had hardships, the depression for one but they endured and I believe became stronger than they were before. I admire that.

It’s a shame mom didn’t pay it forward. Sometimes hurting people hurt others but there are exceptions because my mom was loved, loved by her family and adored by my dad.

Sometimes I feel like all of the trouble that my parents had with my oldest brother set the stage for all h•ll to break loose! Not with daddy as much, but for mom at times.

My parents didn’t know how to handle that. Not sure I would have either. Drugs were not spoken about then. It was a ‘hush hush’ society so I give my parents a free pass for that.

I really don’t want to remember anyone for the worst things they have done in their lives.

Oh, I am well aware of the insanity but I got sick of making myself sick about reliving it. It took a lot of effort on my part. That is where my therapist helped me tremendously! I am forever grateful to him for his insight.

I learned to realize many things, one was that mom’s friends had died many years before. I know she missed them and was lonely. She did attach herself to my friends. My friends didn’t complain about it. They liked her.

One of my closest friends in particular would bring ice cream every time she visited. Mom adored her! She would bring a big pot of soup over every now and then because she knows that I find soup delicious and comforting.

We can’t change our parent’s behavior as much as we would like to. I wish that I could say that I rolled with the punches all of the time but that would be a lie.

Only on rare occasions was I proud of myself for being able to not let her drive me insane. Sometimes we just can’t help it even with therapy and I had a great therapist! In time, the pain and frustration eases up. If we keep trying to succeed in finding peace, we usually do.

I hope you will find peace soon. You will when this is all behind you. My caregiver days are over to mom. I have found peace. You will too. God bless you. Sending a bazillion hugs your way.
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Reply to NeedHelpWithMom
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I guess as we all age with the aches and pains of arthritis or whatever else we have going on, makes us cranky.  So it seems that you are the whipping post since you are apparently the only one that goes to see her.  So either you have to limit your visitations or like other say, when she starts getting nasty.....just say you have to go and then just leave.  She can't argue with only herself and she can't throw out nasty comments, etc to an empty room.  I don't remember reading if you get her groceries or take her to doctors, etc, but if she does all this on her own......then definitely limit your time spent with her.  I know we all want our parents to be safe, and their love, but sometimes they either forget how to show that love but instead lash out due to their pains or loneliness.  Is there anyway she would enjoy going to a senior center to spend some time with others her age?  I know there are times when I have sorta snapped back at my mother when she gets into a  mood cause she complains about her arthritis and groin pain.  I keep telling her, well if you would do the exercises the therapy people told you to do, it wouldn't hurt so bad......then she gets silent cause she knows I am right.  But we are all entitled to blow up once in a while......take a break and stop visiting for a while.  (I know it will bother you but YOU are important and MUST keep yourself healthy).  Or you could just tell one of the other siblings that you are done and that one of them will have to figure out how to deal with whatever she needs.  wishing you luck.
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Reply to wolflover451
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EEMFLA, You seem to feel trapped. I totally understand your feelings. I am sorry that therapy didn't help. I recommend to keep looking for a therapist until you find one who can help you. I have a question for you. You feel trapped, that you have no way out. I was at the scene of a traffic accident last week where a drunk driver hit some people and some of them died at the scene. What happens if you get killed or permanently disabled in a car crash? What will she do? She will find a way. You are not indispensable, step away.

She has you what we called buffaloed, take a small step. I don't know which one is easiest for you. My suggestion is when she starts getting mean, just remove yourself. The biggest is the money. If she has to she can move into cheaper housing. rent a room from someone. whatever.

The only way you are going to get change is change yourself. You are not trapped, you just have to step away.
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Reply to MaryKathleen
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First, she should have a thorough cognitive evaluation if you can get her to do it.. If she is capable of living independently then you can have peace of mind about "removing yourself from her orbit." If she can't support heself, then she should be able to qualify for Medicaid.

You may also want to call your Department of Social Services in your area and explain that you are not and are not able to be financially or physically responsible for her or to live with her and ask them to come out and evaluate her and help you with next steps.
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Mother probably doesn’t even remember chewing your butt the next day. Say something to get her off your leg, like “ENOUGH,”. Then walk away.
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NeedHelpWithMom Oct 1, 2020
Great advice!
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I can’t resist not adding my two cents here. There is an incredible amount of our life that is beyond our control – mainly because of our subconscious. In your subconscious there is an extremely strong need to respond to your mother’s voice. When you hear your mother talking to you, you have a strong emotional response (like it or not) to what she says. It would be exceedingly difficult for you to not respond, because the need is strong and buried deep in your subconscious when you were young and impressionable.
So, there is no easy solution, and you must choose one of the excellent suggestions given by other readers.
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Tressie14 Oct 1, 2020
This is interesting and helpful for me to understand my response to my father's behavior during the last 6 months of his life. He was horribly verbally abusive to me, and everyone kept telling me not to take it personally, but I found that almost impossible. I'm an only child, and was incredibly close to my father, and thankfully my husband adored my dad, and the feeling was mutual. He was the sweetest, best father, and he was my biggest fan and I was his. The things he said to me during what turned out to be the last months of his life were heartbreaking, but he was in unbearable pain from metastatic cancer and went downhill quickly, from being able to drive and take care of my mom, to being gone in less than 6 months. I did have a strong emotional response to what he said, and now I know why. I miss him terribly, he was a rock to me and my family in so many ways, but he was in so much pain. I find myself remembering the 64 years I had him, and now I'm able to not take the last 6 months personally. Thanks for this post.
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Sometimes when people get older, and also when they have dementia, you'll see personality changes. It can get worse. Some people I know have loved ones who turned violent. You say she is living independently. Can you reduce the frequency of your visits while making sure that she is OK? Maybe you need more space between the two of you. At some point, she may need more care and you may have to consider aides or assisted living. You should have this talk with her now so that you know her wishes. But you have a say in this too. Be sure that all of her paperwork is in order POA for medical and financial decisions, will, POAs that the banks require, etc.
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I came to the conclusion that "this person is sick and old and mean and will never get better." It's so hard to deal with petulance, domination and downright cruelty. My own mom passed, but Spouse is eleven years older than me with severe health problems. His mean streak worsens as time passes and since he's a former attorney, he can talk rings around me and throw back my own words into my face as if I am on the witness stand. I've taken to writing a script for necessary distressing conversations, beginning with "Good morning. I need to speak with you about something," stating the issue X and their possible answer Y, down through a line or two of possibilities, like a flow chart. It helps to have a finite time frame. When the time is up with no resolution, I say "I'm tabling this discussion and we'll take it up another time," or throw the ball back into his court by saying "This is a strange conversation. How do you foresee it ending?"

I hope this helps. It's useful to consider the conversation a debate with rules, but it's still so, so hard.
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I get it that as you get older and the body wears out, it would probably make you lash out. It would be normal to be angry with the situation, However. . .every once in a while, you're going to have to have the talk with her. If her mind is good and understands what you're saying - then tell her you don't appreciate the 'mean' game she plays. Go through a list of things that you do for her and would like a little kindness in return.

Sometimes I don't think they even realize how they get into a rut of making negative comments. Or, what you notice now has really been there all along.
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Reply to my2cents
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If yourmom is truly capable of living independently, fine Visit her very briefly once a week, ignore her bad treatment of you and be kind. However, only briefly once a week. On the other hand, if she really needs extensive help, arrange assisted living for her and again visit only briefly once a week.
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Reply to BobbieSena
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If your mother lives independently, how much care taking are you having to do? If she relies on you for necessities, then she is not really independent.

If there are things you still choose to do for her, it might help your frame of mind to think how you would react to her abuse if she were a "patient" who was not your mother.

It is often much harder to deal with negativity, selfishness, decline and frailty in our own parents than it would be in someone unrelated.
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Reply to RedVanAnnie
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Speaking up? How could tht help? You need to arrange assisted living or some other arrangement foryour mother. You should not be living with someone who is abusive.Personally, i refuse to live with anyone nor to allow anyone to live with me.That is my right. it is your right, also.
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EEMFLA, I have been in a similar situation with my parents. (Ages 93 and 95) I was the only child communicating with them on a regular basis, and suffering the abuse and toxicity they dealt out. I recently said I would no longer be calling them on a regular basis (every Sunday) but I would respond to texts and emails. my husband and I said we had found interactions with them too upsetting and painful. We are 60 years old and despite many attempts, they do not/ can not change. We are currently enjoying the respite. As others have said, create boundaries. Set limits. I have found, historically, that the less my parents see or hear from me the more they appreciate it. If you do necessary caretaking, perhaps you can see if your siblings will help out and pay for some kind of service which will check in with her. It seems like they "owe you" for all you are doing and have done. Good luck. Be strong. Some of the process, at least for me, was saying "this abuse goes beyond duty to my parent" and "I am never going to have the parent I wanted no matter what I do."
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I would have to agree with the previous answer. If she is living "independently" in a home away from yours, then set some ground rules - and a care assistant if necessary. And only visit say a couple of times a week. If she is living with you, then it's absolutely time to make a change and get her into some sort of assisted living. If not, you'll end up a nervous wreck (if you're not there already) and just hate your mother - which is not good for either of you. Find a way to give yourself some space, especially since your lazy siblings are doing exactly that.
Good luck.
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Reply to prenaud100
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The only thing wrong I see that you are doing is keeping her at home. Place her in a facility. You'll both be happier. It's time for you to both move on. That's the best thing you can do for yourself. Good luck and stay strong.
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Reply to Flowerhouse1952
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Tell her what you think. Be open and honest while respectful.

This is what I did with dad who was abrasive his whole life. Like you, there are other (3) children, but none stepped up to help. That can be a blessing as there are no arguments with sibs, but as you mention can lead to resentment.

At first it was hard for me to be respectful with dad. I was overly harsh. It felt good to get things off my chest, but I felt I was lashing out; taking advantage of the fact that I could walk away. I recalibrated and decided I would do better. I would think before and after speaking to him. I would consider what I was saying.

It was so liberating to tell him what I did not like about his actions and words. And when I was able to be respective, I didn't regret it afterwards.

Did he change? Of course not :) What I told him, I was doing for myself; not for him; not expecting change. I was protecting myself. I was being the adult. I was taking on the role reversal. I was going to take care of him regardless of how he acted or what he said -- just like a parent does with a child.

Maybe some don't need to clear the air like I needed to. More power to you. But, my experience was that after I shared my thoughts, I was no longer resentful.
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Reply to chillinwithscb
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Idk the answer. I certainly don’t support my mother, except by phone calls. She was like this with me. Never stopped the biting remarks. I stopped calling it was just too painful for me. Now her mind is affected by Parkinson’s dementia and she is much happier and more peasant, but my real mother is not there anymore. I wish I could have just ignored her, not taken it so personally because now she is gone.
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chillinwithscb Oct 1, 2020
Sad that you regret. It's a good less for others. Will you regret your actions today when it's tomorrow?

IMO talk about it today; early and often; open and honest. I did with dad before he passed and I'm so glad I did.
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I've been in relationships like this before.
It sounds as if you keep running into a wall marked, "It's my responsibility to take care of her even if she abuses me. I can't bring myself to leave her to the consequences she has created."
A. Staying creates negative consequences for you.
B. Leaving creates negative consequences for her.
C. If you are capable of creating boundaries and your mother is capable of respecting boundaries, then you could both benefit.
D. But if you can't set them and/or she can't respect them, you are back to either choice A or B.

Setting boundaries is more about the person setting the boundary than the other person. People like your mom are not going to be surrounded by those who will tolerate disrespect. Unless she changes.
If you tell her you have a reasonable need to be treated with more civility, she can choose to treat you with more civility or ignore your plea.
Just how lopsided is the relationship is when she is allowed to be unreasonable- to yell, to be mean, to be disrespectful, to make unreasonable demands and you are not allowed to be treated kindly because she doesn't feel like she wants to do that?
She's already accepted the consequences of her choices to treat her other children badly.
It does not matter to her that she hurt them and that she is hurting you. She does not believe that their feelings matter.
So you have to decide if your feelings matter.
And if they do, learn how to untangle yourself from this mess where YOU are dealing with the consequences of your mother's choices rather than her dealing with them.
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After many, many years of Mom expressing her absolute disdain for me and taking everything from having things slung at me from across the room, to her slamming things as soon as I walked in her home, to her talking about me nastily to anybody that would listen and lying that I was stealing and hiding items from her, I begged assistance from my unwilling siblings. I had already lost a job to take care of both my parents and by the time my father passed, I was already running two households - mine and hers. To top it off, there was an older brother li
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