Follow
Share

She says I am selfish and I should want to do things for her. Through many years of therapy I have learned to set boundaries and even hold the boundaries I set. The difficult part is that my mom gets very angry and "hurt" that I would not want to do things for her and spend every minute I could with her. She says she understands that I have a life too but when it comes right down to it, she makes me feel very guilty that she is alone and old. She has the financial means to live in a nice IL or AL facility. She lives 1.5 hours away from me. I call every day and visit her once a week. I work full time and have other responsibilities in addition to her. (MIL, hubby, adult children, pets, home of my own) She does nothing to cooperate with me, she won't move closer. Her new thing is shopping for hours and then asking me to return the same items the next week. I just told her I would not do this anymore and her reply was that I am very selfish and ungrateful. UGH. I'm done.

This question has been closed for answers. Ask a New Question.
Momsgoto, it sounds like your mother is turning the FOG onto you -- fear, obligation, and guilt. A lot of parents do that to their children and it is very unfair. Since you spent a lot of years in therapy, you probably already know these things. It feels bad when they get old and keep pushing on the boundaries we build. Mine does that all the time, hoping they will cave in.

The part about returning things had me nodding my head. Mine will buy something, then decide she doesn't like it or thinks it cost too much. She wants me to return it. I won't do that anymore, since it seemed to be turning into a game with her. When I stopped returning, my mother didn't try it anymore. I don't understand why she was doing this, but it was very irritating. It was more like she couldn't find anything that pleased her, not even if she bought it herself.

I know you are just venting, momsgoto. Vent away. Many of us know what you're saying.
Helpful Answer (8)
Report

My mother and I have had a good relationship most of my life. I had a good childhood. As long as everything went her way, all was fine with the world. When my father died the story changed. She no longer had someone to do her bidding night and day. I do my best. I know that on an intellectual level but I feel like I should always do more. I feel like I am in a catch-22. I want to do nice things for her and I am kind by nature. But when I do that she is mean and uses my good nature as a sign weakness. She is definitely counting on me caving. She wants to live in my house and will not consider any other alternatives. Even if I did cave, my husband is adamant that she cannot live with us. He has watched her manipulation for years. He and I agree on one thing. If my mother moves in, our marriage may not survive. I live every day in a vice.
I'm suspicious that there is some cognitive decline but every doctor says she is fine. She keeps her house clean and is pretty sharp with her finances. So it's the interpersonal deficits that are obvious but only to those who know her. In my experience, doctors really don't care that much about these issues. Unless your loved one is licking the walls or disoriented as to time and place they don't address it.
Helpful Answer (8)
Report

Selfish and ungrateful.

Selfish and ungrateful?

Selfish and ungrateful! I love it!!!

Momsgoto, there is something about glorious, blazing, triumphant illogicality that just tickles me for some reason.

"I went to the shops and bought these items, having learned nothing from many previous similar experiences. My daughter says she is fed up with returning items I have bought and don't want, and is not going to play this game any more. How selfish and ungrateful of her!"

I can only recommend that you carry on being as selfish and ungrateful as your sanity, your sense of reality and your marriage require; and allow your mother to enjoy her grievances.
Helpful Answer (8)
Report

You are in my eyes already bending over backwards to serve mom - you travel 3 hours round trip to visit for how long, then you spend at least an hour a week talking to her on the phone and recovering from her abuse. Then you spend another couple of hours fretting about it. I can certainly see how your husband would not want to share you any more with your mom - you married him, not her!

That's too bad for your mom that she has not figured out how to live without someone at her beck and call. Maybe you should start retraining her now so she has a better rest of her life! Perhaps a call OR a visit a week. You also set a timer on your phone or kitchen clock to limit the time you have with her. When it rings, time's up and you have to go to your next appointment. That appt could be taking out the garbage - its importance does not matter, what matters is that you obey YOUR schedule, not mom's. Distance yourself from her so she can have the joy of being an independent woman!
Helpful Answer (7)
Report

It sounds like this conflict between you two has been longstanding. Is that right? It also sounds like you do an awful lot for her. Some people are just difficult to please. Even if you were there with her 24/7, it might not be enough. If you read a lot of the posts on this site, you'll see where adult children provide around the clock care for their parents and they are still not happy, complain and insult them. So, you can only do, what you can. After that, I'd have peace with it. Why would you feel guilty, when you do your best. I never feel guilty when I do my best, I am gentle with myself, since, few others are. lol

One other thing that I would suggest is to consider if she is having any cognitive decline. My LO became unusually difficult and demanding and I thought she was very rude and unreasonable. I didn't know then that it was early dementia. Later, it was clear. The reason she called and wanted me there so much, is that her brain was changing and it scared her. She needed me there for comfort, but, was scared to tell me why. I'd check out her house and make sure things are okay and that she's functionally normally, just to make sure. All those purchases would peek my curiosity. 
Helpful Answer (6)
Report

You are a great daughter and quite frankly your mother doesn't have boundaries and is demonstrating manipulative and selfish behavior. I think the less you communicate the better. It's hard not to at first because you will feel like you "should" be calling her. Don't do it ....it gets easier. Unless you all just have a ball talking every day...why do you need to call her daily? I don't even call people daily who don't manipulate me. There is no law that says since you are her daughter you need to do this. Let her live with her independence and stop seeing you as someone who is a daily touchstone and scape goat. The more you let her be independent of you the better for you both. Some persons ALWAYS think that people owe them something. You say she doesn't have dementia. Did a doctor do the Mini Mental or some other test for cognitive decline? Also, if she still has her credit cards and is ordering things with the expectation you will return them...I would put the kibosh on that. You are under no obligation to do that for her. She can arrange for UPS to do a pick up as will USPS. It sounds like you are not POA and that she does her own finances. If you are concerned about her having some dementia then perhaps she needs to have her credit card removed before she is a victim of a scam. Sorry to sound so tough but sometimes tough love is needed.
Helpful Answer (6)
Report

My mother has spent her life buying things & then returning them. When Dad was alive, he'd drive her all over the place to return the items she didn't want. I think she gets a thrill buying them, then when the initial thrill of the purchase wears off, she's left with a bunch of stuff she doesn't want/need. These days, she lives in an assisted living facility and the bus driver will occasionally bring her back to the mall to return something. Then she made a habit out of doing it, so the bus driver said No More. As for me, I work full time and will NOT spend my weekends returning unnecessary purchases to stores, period. Yes, I'm "selfish and ungrateful" and that's just fine! Don't buy into the nonsense......it takes two to play this game.
Helpful Answer (6)
Report

Momsgoto, I don't really have any answers for you, either, but your husband has clearly set a boundary (your mother will NOT live with the two of you), so that's good!

My mother thinks I need to be involved in her day-to-day snafus (didn't bring all the info to the tax preparer, is now stressing out about how to start mail order meds, etc.). At a doctor's visit I told her to please be quiet, the doctor was trying to speak and she hissed at me, "Don't tell me what to do!" Any time she has to call a company/dr/whatever on the phone, there is usually a mixup and of course the other person is "stupid!"

I am supposed to agree with her. I usually don't. But I don't say that, because that upsets her greatly. She is not ready to hear that she is becoming incapable of doing many of these things (one reason is her hearing loss, which she refuses to get hearing aids for), so she continues to stumble through things and get herself quite irritated.

She is 90 years old. I see cognitive slippage. Doctors don't care. They see that I go to medical appointments with her, and so aren't concerned. (They probably assume she lives with me, which she doesn't and never will.)
Helpful Answer (5)
Report

My 88 year old mother lives next door to me which is perfect for now. She is at about the same cognitive level as your Mother. She had a stroke which left her with very little short term memory. She has a hard time having a conversation as the words don't come easily. Unlike your Mother, she is usually very sweet, but won't accept that she is impared in any way so we are constantly butting heads. She says I have taken her freedom away. No, the stroke did that. She does the shopping thing too. Orders on the internet as she doesn't drive anymore, so I am always at the post office returning packages. When does it ever end? We have a few years to go I am afraid & it will only get worse. Wish I had advice for you. Hang on!
Helpful Answer (5)
Report

Setting your boundaries is smart. You have to limit your visits, limit your running around and doing endless errands. Spend quality time with your family, and maybe this will help when your mom is being difficult. Hope this helps, Please take care of you, remember quality time vs. quantity.
Helpful Answer (5)
Report

See All Answers
This question has been closed for answers. Ask a New Question.