Five years ago I became my mom's primary caretaker. I'm actually her ONLY caretaker. I have no help. My older sister and brother passed away not long ago, I have one younger brother who not only refuses to help me but has stopped calling our mom, not even for her birthday or for Mother's Day - it's like he never existed.

I gave up my job and began working from home because she cannot be left alone. I have no car so I go nowhere on my own. All of my belongings are in a small, expensive storage unit. I live in a bedroom. My life has literally shrunk down to a cluttered, ugly 12x14 room. I am totally isolated. I never see my kids, I never see anyone. I go for days without talking to anyone except my dog and my mom. My mom is 87 and has dementia. I do not get along with my mother. She's always been very manipulative and really selfish and since I am no longer the quiet, accepting child I was, we just fight. Constantly. I am going thru a lot of my own personal loss right now but I have no one to talk to, turn to. Everything centers around my mom like it always has. I feel like I have sacrificed my whole life in order to keep hers on track and what she expects it to be. I have nothing to my name - no car, no home, no steady income, no social life, no professional life.

People recommend I have someone come in once or twice a week to relieve me but that would not relieve me - I have no car. I have no transportation. I'd just still be in that bedroom anyway.

I do not know what to do. She will not go into assisted living voluntarily, and she will not let agree to my having guardianship because she hates me, does not trust me. She only draws $900 a month Social Security. I pay the rent out of that, I pay all the bills and co-pays and groceries and etc. myself. I work anywhere from 5-7 jobs at one time, trying to keep my income coming in.

I am daily called names, accused of lying, accused of stealing, told to go to hell. I am told constantly how worthless I am as a daughter, as a mother, as a wife, as a person, even as a dog owner. The usual is "you're a stupid, lying idiot." She hides everything from those "other people" who come into the house at night and steal her dog food, her makeup, her hairbrushes, her food, her wallet, etc. I've had to bring everything I don't want lost into the tiny bedroom I now live in.

I should be in California right now - I was offered the chance to go to the ocean for a week. I am here instead because no one will do what I've done for the past 5 years- stay here, 24/7, dealing with my mom and this depressing, dirty, cluttered home that smells like dog pee. I've tried to make things better around here but after 2 years I gave up. I needed that trip. I needed that break, so badly. But no one would help with all of this. I feel as if as long as I stay here, stay quiet, pay the bills, take care of my mother, do all the things no one else wants to do, then everyone thinks I'm just fine. I wake up every morning feeling like I just don't know why, other than to pay the bills and take care of someone who tells me to drop dead, to disappear, that I've ruined her last years, etc.

I moved into this house in order to keep her in her own home with her dog and her belongings for as long as possible. But I gave up everything to do so. And it's not what I'm doing that I resent, not at all. It's the treatment I resent. I've spent 5 years hearing every awful thing about me and then repeating it to myself. After so long, you begin to believe all the bad stuff. I went through an awful divorce where my ex spent every day until he moved out calling me worthless, "psychotic," a liar, etc. Over a year of hearing those things from the man I loved and trusted, every day. It broke me down. This is breaking me down. She's echoing all the terrible things my ex said to me.

I feel totally trapped. I can't get her into assisted living, I cannot get out of this house, I cannot get anyone to help. Again, just having someone come into the house will not help me. I'll still be trapped here since I have no car.

I've become uncomfortable around people now - I think it's because I've been isolated for so long. I feel so nervous, jittery when I'm around people. I am growing old in a bedroom. I see myself in the mirror and it makes me feel so sad and tired. I am growing old in exactly the way I always feared: alone, with nothing. I have nothing to my name right now.

I know there are probably no answers here. Maybe it just helps to type out the words instead of keeping them running circles in my head. I feel like I've lost my kids, my home, my sister, my brother, my dad, my friends, and I am now losing my mom. It's a daily death. I have so much unresolved grief in me from all the losses that hit one after another after another after another, with no breaks. I carry all that grief and also the grief of watching my mom disappear, watching our relationship descend into nothing. I've lost my entire family.

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Your post breaks my heart. Truly.

I am no longer CG for my mother, but I remember the feelings that would entrap me on my "on" days and I wanted to cry--many times on the way home I WOULD..scream, cry, hit the steering wheel, I'm pretty sure people in cars by me thought I was insane.

You have kids. Can you lean on them at all? I really try to not "bug" mine, but I turn to them for support when needed.

Sounds like mom needs to be hauled to a NH, ASAP. She'd be doing it on Medicaid, but that's OK. She sounds awful--has it always been like this?

Can you contact APS for help/support? You work so you have private income. Can you move out to a low income apartment on your own? Car you afford a small car payment..or do you have good public transport available?

A: contact the kids and ask for help
B: call APS and tell them you cannot care for your mother and feel she's in danger--that you need help, like YESTERDAY.
C: get out of the house everyday for as long as possible
D: realize you have VALUE. I also was abused as a child and it is so hard to not hear those words in my head and heart....
E: Look at working ONE job, with benefits, if possible.
F: Divorce your mom.
G: get someone to kick your ex in the crotch. Guys like that aren't worth the space they take up on earth. HE doesn't define you.
H: Pray (I'm religious, so I hope this doesn't offend) I'll pray FOR you!

You have done a HUGE SERVICE for your mother. Whether or not she appreciates makes no difference. YOU DID IT.

Time to move on. Come back here--so many better voices than mine to support you.

Helpful Answer (14)
Penelope123 Sep 2018
Your answer is very compasionate. I like how you didn't jump on her since she is overwhelmed already. The answer to this won't happen overnight but you've given her a good start in the right direction with your encouragement.
You matter and are a valuable person.

I get it. You want this self centered, unkind, mean mouth person you call mom to love and value you. She can't, never has been able to. So, please, find a way to let go of that unattainable dream. She can only hurt you more as long as you think you can do anything right, good enough or?? to gain her love. You did nothing to cause her to be the person she has always been towards you, therefore you can do nothing to change her heart towards you now.

I know how very hard it is to say, my mom doesn't care about me, never has, never will. Love me, ha, despises the very thought of me. This is her problem, not yours. DO NOT OWN HER OPINION OF YOU, YOU DESERVE BETTER!

Can you go outside, go for a walk anything that gets you out and away from her and the same 4 walls? Anyone would start getting stir crazy in your situation. Get a good work out video, anything that gets your blood moving, it will help you feel better and when you feel better you can cope with problems better.

I know how frustrated you must feel but you can only change how you respond to her. Stop engaging with her BS, walk away, let her rant and rave and say whatever ugly thing she wants, you don't have to listen. I have a big mouth and a sharp temper so I know how hard it is to not participate and bite back but it really does help me cope, even if I'm being ridiculous in my head, I keep my mouth shut most of the time.

Please try to know that you are an amazing person for being there for your mom. She may never tell you, doesn't change the fact that she is blessed to have you and you are giving her a gift that is invaluable.

Hugs for all you do!
Helpful Answer (11)

AndiLynn, you have had your self esteem taken away by your mom and ex. You are a victim of emotional abuse. This is how abusers keep central of their victims. You are the only one who can say "ENOUGH". Please look back at all you have done for her over the last 5 years. You ARE an exceptionally good person! Call your local Legal Aid elder access line to find out about getting POA. Then find a memory care unit or NH for her. I suspect she has verbally and emotionally abused you your whole life and its what you have come to expect in life, which is why you ended up marrying an abuser. Please break the cycle and find the happiness you deserve. Happiness truly is a choice! Start living life for you. It's your turn. Big hugs.
Helpful Answer (10)

Hang in there! Call local senior services, check to see if your Dr has a social worker, anything to get you started on a path to getting help for you and your mother.

I am dealing with a 91 year old mother that I am trying to transition into assisted living from her family home. I toured a nearby facility and was told they have a program where Mom can stay for up to 2 weeks to get a feel for the place. I am hoping that she will see how much easier her life can be than living on her own.

I am determined that she will not move in with me. Selfish? Some may say so but I don’t want to spend her last year’s resenting her because of having to physically care for her 24/7. I recently retired and have many things planned that don't include being a maid for Mom!

I love my mom but know I don’t have it in me to deal with her increasing metal and physical decline. Nursing home staff work 6-8 hours and go home. They can call on other staff to help too. Caregivers don’t have that respite and that is not fair to them or the parent.
Helpful Answer (10)
katydid1 Sep 2018
Frances73 - Well said!!!!
I am extremely concerned for you. Your physical health is going to suffer if you don't do something. I like all the advice that you have already received. I would like to add a couple of things.

1. If she goes to the hospital for ANYTHING, tell them you can't take care of her any longer. Don't let them guilt you into taking her back. Let them find a place for her. They have resources and can do it. Don't worry about the house or anything else, take care of yourself. When she is placed, don't go every day and keep up this toxic relationship.

2. Call your county mental health department and tell them your problems and see if you can get some free mental health counseling. If you are a senior (55+) call the county office on aging. Ask the same thing. You desperately need some counseling. You have been beat down so long, you can't see the way out.

2a. Most if not all counties have a crisis hotline and it seems to me you need to call it. Call your County Mental Health department, select crisis hotline or whatever they call it. I just called mine to be sure there is help out there for you.

3. As others have said, get out of the house, even if you just go to the street and sit on the curb.

I am greatly concerned you might have a completely breakdown, if you already haven't. Please keep in touch with us. You didn't get to where you are overnight, It will take time to get mentally well again.

Remember, you can only be a doormat if you lay down. When she starts to say mean things, get up and leave the house NO MATTER WHAT. That way you can't hear her, you only need to go out to the street, garage, something Tell her you will come back when she can be polite. Do this, even if she goes wet, hungry, etc. Come back in say 5 or 10 minutes, when she starts again, walk out. I had to do this to my mother and it works. If she has dementia, it might not, but you won't have to listen to the nonsense.

Please learn to take care of yourself, you do matter. Many HUGS!!!
Helpful Answer (9)

crazywife2X: " I think we over rate our own obligations to serve and give ours up for another."

YES! I have often thought this. It certainly plays into the way our miserable system is set up, which is to expect family caregivers (usually one person, usually always a female) to sacrifice themselves.

But this IS NOT OKAY. And it is especially wrong for you, because you have been a victim of emotional abuse.

You should not be taking care of your mother. If you don't, someone else will. It might be the state, but so what?

YOU MATTER. I care about YOU...not your mother, not that dog. YOU.

Keep writing to us. Try out some plans on us. The people here are really wonderful. Most posters, unfortunately, are never able to change their situations, because they can't/won't do what's necessary.

There is real desperation in your post, though. I think your situation is dire. Please let us help you!
Helpful Answer (9)

AndiLynn, You said: "I am daily called names, accused of lying, accused of stealing, told to go to hell. I am told constantly how worthless I am as a daughter, as a mother, as a wife, as a person, even as a dog owner. The usual is "you're a stupid, lying idiot.""

Hearing this daily would make anyone depressed and eventually suicidal or murderous or both. No one is supposed to live this way. I'd get the mother out of there first, now. I agree with the commenter who advised taking her to a hospital emergency room. Drop her off and tell them you can't and won't take care of her. There are nurses and social workers there who are trained to get her into the system.

You've probably been trained from babyhood to tolerate abuse and to sabotage yourself. It's time to escape. Advice to turn the other cheek and be sweet in response to her abuse is poppycock.

You can get on food stamps, called SNAP now. You can rent a room with a kitchen or even buy a cheap van and live in that for awhile to avoid paying rent. Many people live that way even in cities--there are YouTube videos about it. (I lived that way once between apartments and it was fun.) If you can't afford internet yet you can take your laptop to libraries to work and research resources.

You are not legally required to care for your mother. Even in states with filial responsibility laws you don't have to pay for her care if you don't have the money or if the parent has been abusive. You're not ethically or morally responsible, either, after the way she's treated you all of your lfe.

As you can see, these patterns carry down through generations. The first step in living a better life is to get away from her--now.
Helpful Answer (9)
bigsun Sep 2018
Thank you for Frank reply. I found it very helpful
I am also worried about your physical and mental health. And a crisis call is a great idea.

There are also some things you can do to change this situation. The first step is to decide that you will no longer care for her 24/7. I'm wondering how you get your mom to her doctor appointments? This could be the start of having your mom placed in an assisted living. A doctor would be able to say that your mom is not able to live alone and she must move someplace else. I know you are there caring for your mom, but if the doctor knows you will no longer do this, the doctor has a good reason to make a recommendation.

I don't know if she has a diagnosis of dementia or some other cognitive impairment that would cause a doctor to say she is incapacitated, but if she did, you can petition the court to be her guardian. Your mom doesn't have to agree to have a guardian. She just needs a doctor and the court to say she is incapacitated. If that can be done, you would be able to make the decisions for her - with or without her approval, and find a suitable placement for her so you can have a life.

Another avenue is to ask the police to do a wellness check on your mom. Of course that again means that you would come to the conclusion that you need to step away. And you DO need to step away! The police will come and do a wellness check and find that she's in trouble and cannot live alone. They take her to the hospital and she will have to stay there until a suitable place is found for her to move into.

I see a lot of this in my line of work. It's rare that a parent will cooperate when the topic of moving is discussed. That's to be expected. So, you need to find ways to get your mom out of where she is. You may have to be a bit underhanded, but you are doing both of you a huge favor in the end. People with cognitive impairment lose their ability to make sound decisions. Others have to step in to make the decisions for your mom because she is unable to do it.
Helpful Answer (8)
Timeforme2 Sep 2018
Thank you for your comments to andilynn as i am sitting here in my room crying and fearful of my mental state. Left my husband, home and transferred to another store in thier state to work. Did this 5 months ago to care for dad 91 with Alzheimer's and Mom 86 with health issues who has been caring for him for 8 years. She agreed to moving in with husband and I next summer but i can clearly see she was just agreeing at the moment, as they want to die in thier home. I am melting down after only 5 months and asking myself what else could i have done. I can clearly see that i need to get help if i stay here much longer, have been able to go back home twice to see my husband. Makes it worse when i get back, since I then miss my life even more. I feel better just putting into words how i feel, don't want to burden anyone especially my husband. Thanks
Big hugs!!!

I'm in a similar situation now but not nearly as isolating as you. You say you have nothing to your name but you do have your beautiful mind. You can escape using that mind to truly imagine yourself where you want to be. Have you tried meditation? It is not an answer to physically getting away but it may help with the mental health. And what about your kids? Why are they not helping you get out of there? Can you possibly move in with one of them and tell your mother that you are going to have to leave if she doesn't shape up and realize that if it wasn't for YOU she would be in a nursing home? I know it sounds cruel, but she is inflicting the cruelest punishment on you and you will have to put your foot down and tell her to stop or you will have to leave. Then, just walk out, go to a hotel or something for the night, don't call and see what happens. You don't have a car so call a taxi. I know it sounds harsh, but look at what she has done to you. Until you stand up for yourself, she will continue to dump on you because you let her. There are social agencies out there for you to take advantage of due to your limited income too. Don't just look for help for your mother, look for help for YOU first. Make her realize that if you aren't there, then she will not have anyone. Plug your ears and get ready for the fit she will throw and just be strong. You have to be strong. You can't keep going on like this. You have to change or else you will end up in the hospital yourself. Harsh words, but true! It is easy for me to say but I've had to do that and it worked. He settled down when he realized he really was truly dependent on me for his care and that being alone was bad. Plus the fact that the only alternative to me taking care of him was a nursing home. He has been in a rehab facility a few times and I reminded him how bad that was that he would be in a similar situation if I wasn't around to care for him. Once she realizes that you will take action, she will think twice about what she does. And if she keeps harassing you, walk out again until it really sinks in. As the Nike commercial says, Just Do It. You are the only person that can...
Helpful Answer (7)

Guess what? This Forum post is about you, only you! And believe it or not, that is exactly how it should be. You have put others' needs, desires, and viewpoints ahead of your own for what sounds to be your whole life. This is YOUR time to say, enough! I know how hopeless everything seems right now, but there is hope on this Forum and in other places.

(1) So your mother has only negative things to say about you. Then, fine, that should make it a little easier to step back. Much easier to distance yourself from someone who is unkind and ungrateful than a sweet, appreciative person.

(2) If it is still an option, then, yes, I think you should absolutely get someone in for a day or two or more. I don't care that you don't have a car. Is there a bus? Is there uber? Can you walk/hike to somewhere restful? You need to get out of your bedroom.

(3) It is time to have the come to Jesus talk with your mom. This will sound nasty, but she now depends on you. That is a good thing because it actually gives you the power - should you choose to take it. Tell her flat out, if she won't give you guardianship, then all bets are off. Based on your mom's personality, tough talk might actually shake her to her senses. I am ashamed to say that sometimes I have had to talk not so nice to my mom and have even used bad language. For some personalities, the subtle, gentle, rational approach just does not work. So make sure the message gets through loud and clear.

(4) You say you have kids. What kind of role modeling are you doing for them? What are you giving to them emotionally if you have nothing left in the tank.

(5) You say you don't mind what you are doing, just the treatment you are receiving. I can tell you right now, the person who needs to change is not your mother - but you. You are doing way too much.

I know this sounds harsh and I intended that only to try and shake you from this self-imposed life sentence you have imposed on yourself. To a certain extent, my situation parallels yours (only child to step up, single, challenging mother), but I have learned that even with caregiving, you can only be a victim if you choose to be, no matter how dire the circumstances.

Hope this helps just a little. Believe it or not, you have the power. Take it.
Helpful Answer (7)

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