Um. Because I AM one? I've been holding down a job, caring for her and trying to help my sister. I was just catching up on household chores today, wearing old jeans, hair pulled back in a bun to keep it out of the way. I'd been vacuuming, scrubbing bathrooms, cleaning the kitchen, cleaning a chicken coop, cleaning litter pans, doing laundry. I'm chronically sleep deprived and I can't remember the last time I got to actually sit down and have a nice meal. I'm also stressed because there's something wrong with the car. I have no days off. I bet I DO look tired and old. I was telling her about some new yogurt I bought for her to try when she just said this out of the blue, with the "sweet innocent" look she uses when she says awful things on purpose. She was screened for dementia and does NOT have it. She was referred to a psychiatrist and her appointment is tomorrow at 8 AM.
See, she has ALWAYS been this way. She says negative things for no good reason, usually in a surprise sneak attack when I'm feeling sad or low. She only seems happy when she's cutting someone down or creating drama. When I was a teen she heavily criticized me for trying to look nice, telling me I looked like a "hooker" wearing makeup or fashionable clothes. Somehow, she always manages to make me feel horrible about myself no matter what I look like. She always makes vicious backhanded comments about other people's weight or how much gray they have or how old they look. Thing is, I AM a "middle aged woman" and a really burned out one at that. So what she said really stung.
In some practical ways life is easier since she came to live with me- I can now juggle her many appointments more easily, and she's not living in a hoarded home with my very troubled sister- that situation needed to change for both of them. But I've sacrificed my freedom to help her. I don't expect she'll ever change, and she will never see why she has no one, no friends, why her brother never calls or wants to see her, why three of her five kids (from three different men, one extra-marital affair) haven't spoken to her AT ALL in literally decades and why one of them is terribly messed up and needs therapy...And why good old reliable me is sitting here typing this on a public forum.
Most of the time I let her personality problems just slide past me because I gave up needing her when I was about ten years old, after her umpteenth dramatic suicide threat, which has always been her way of manipulating and controlling people. She's an odd mix of chronic victim and chronic predator. She does weird things such as try to take over someone else's experiences and then start talking as if they happened to her. I've told her things before, only to have her, a short time later, tell me about that very thing as if it happened to her. She actually tries to steal memories and experiences, and not just from me. She lies, and her opinions, likes, dislikes all change like the wind. I don't think she has a clue who she really is.
Mostly, I view her as a pathetic burden no one else will take and I feel sorry for her. It's like living with an exotic creature I neither understand nor trust, but once in a while I let my guard down and she pounces. When I calmly confront her about her behavior, she retreats to a huffy, defensive "Well I can't say ANYTHING! I just wont say ANYTHING!" And then she tells me tales about how her mother used to call her "plain" and SHE didn't mind, therefore I should stop being "silly". When I explain to her that her reaction to something does not invalidate my feelings about something that's been said to me, she just shrugs and sulks.
Don't know why I'm writing this or if anyone will understand it, but living with someone like this is like living in the Matrix. No clue what's real. She LOOKS like a sweet, caring 83 year old lady but she isn't. The sad thing is she's ruined lives, failed to be a mother, declined to be a friend, and when she dies no one will miss her.