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I'm new here and came just to ask this. I need help. I'm newly 18, a junior in college online doing independent psychology research. My grandmother lives with my mom and me (she moved in ten months ago), and I can no longer deal with her. She has non-alcohol fatty liver disease, and I think she's in the advanced stages, but she won't tell us anything. She has ascites (recently drained 3 liters, and it built right back up) and gigantic hernias. She ignores her diabetes.


That's not the problem. If she were sick and talked to us about it, I could deal with that. She won't tell us anything; she guilt-trips my mom if she doesn't spend 100% of her time with her and explodes at me for not talking to her, which I don't do because she does this more when I talk to her. When she attacks me, it's often about my autistic behaviors or something I literally do not do. I don't know what I'm supposed to about that. She complains incessantly about anything we do and refuses to talk about anything other than her memories or things she saw that day. It is offensive to her if my mom and I discuss something abstract (e.g., politics, my research). She ignores us when we ask her a question, victimizes herself every chance she gets, and blames us for everything bad that happens.


She won't talk to us about her health and can't keep anything straight about it. She lies to her doctors. She overspends. She makes food and leaves the dishes everywhere, and then yells at us for doing it. Some days, she acts fine and is offended that we think she's not and then turns around and refuses to do something because she's so weak. It's like gaslighting.


Having lived through multiple abusive situations (with my father and a "friend"), I cannot handle this. It's negatively affecting my mental health. I'm scared I'm going to have another bipolar episode because I am constantly bombarded by manipulation.


What do I do? How can I cope with this?

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Your situation is so sad. I’m sorry that you are struggling with your grandmother’s behavior.

The ideal situation is for your grandmother to move out. It sounds like she is trying to control your environment.

It is difficult to live with anyone who is manipulative.

You aren’t going to change her behavior. You can only change your reaction to it.

I hope your mom will become fed up enough to tell your grandmother that her days are numbered in your home and she will be moving into a facility as soon as it’s possible.

It’s a shame that your grandmother is this way. No one wants to be around a controlling person. They drive others away.

Wishing the best for your family and keep focused on your studies. Getting your education is your ticket out!
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Cyber hugs, from a distance! 👩‍🦳️
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Peg,
Always protect your own mental health!
Here are some ideas for you to contemplate:
You are 18, an adult.

Your parent's marital settlement agreement might have set guidelines and support to provide for you at least until you are 18. Congratulations! If that support continues while you are in college, it can be transferred to someone more able to administrate the funds for you to live independently and attend college. Use an attorney. It just is not true that you cannot move out due to a marital settlement agreement your parents have.

That support from ex-spouse would likely end if you were not in college, and/or not living with your Mom. Support that your mother receives, and controls. That in no way obligates you to live there or with your mom! A judge orders support for your benefit, not to force you into a bad environment or to be imprisoned or used as a caregiver to gma.

There may have been a special needs trust set up for you if you are on the autism spectrum and have bipolar episodes. You may need to live in independent supportive housing, with a trust administrator (other than mom). There are many choices open to you as an adult. Staying in this much of a stressful environment will not help you, and may interfere with your ability to live a more stable life. No one can order you to care for gma, nor should they.

However, do not burn any bridges behind you. That means, while you explore what is best for you, do not make an enemy of your mother. Learn to identify if she has a financial hold on you, using it to threaten or manipulate you to stay when that may not currently serve your needs. (She may be your best advocate, turns out.).

Unless you have been declared incompetent, even so, you have rights, possibilities open for you to thrive. Seek help from a Special Needs Trust attorney, make contact with other Aspies online, see what they are doing to be more independent. If a person has special needs, the goal is to encourage them to live as full a life as possible, while aiming for as much independence as possible. You may need to always be accountable to some good person, because handling your finances will be a struggle.

In the meantime, be at home as little as possible. You cannot afford to miss any meetings on behalf of another person's needs. And your concerns for mom's stress? It is hers to deal with. You cannot prevent it, just don't add to it.

Have a good life, you can do it with just a very little support!
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I just want to reach out & give you a hug. I grew up in a house where my grandmother lived with us, and my childhood was truly a nightmare as a result. My mother made a conscious choice to ruin MY life, HER life and my grandmother's life by keeping her in our home when they couldn't stand one another. As a result, my only goal was to move OUT of that house and to start my own life, which I did, at 17, before it was a good idea to do so, actually, but hey, the alternative was worse. Two bad choices I had at that point. My mother's main responsibility in life was to ME, not to her mother and I will tell you the same thing: your mother's main responsibility in life is to YOU, not to her mother (or her MIL, whoever it is) and she's doing you a grave injustice by allowing this scenario to go on. To this day, my mother & I have a crappy relationship b/c of my childhood and the choices she made. We were never able to develop a close mother/daughter relationship as a result and never became friends. I don't like her at all, as a matter of fact. I love her and do whatever is necessary for her, but I don't like her one little bit.

I wanted to tell you that story so you know you're not alone with what you're going through. I was going to suggest to you what stilldealing did: to have a heart to heart talk with your mother and TELL her what you told US. That you are struggling mightily to cope with the situation you're forced to deal with at home. You say that you've spoken with gma about moving out but that nobody wants to 'pressure her'. How about YOU? Your home s/b a sanctuary and it's not. It's time for gma to move OUT or for your mother to do something to help you out here; help you with funds or finding a job to finance your own place, etc.

If you MUST stay in this situation, make your room your private retreat. Get headphones and earplugs and isolate yourself away from the nonsense. Refuse to engage in ANY of the drama gma is dishing out b/c you cannot tolerate it. Period. Put your mental health FIRST! Do you have a counselor at school you can speak to? Or an online therapist? That would be a good resource to look into; to speaking with a qualified professional who can coach you and guide you with coping mechanisms to help you deal with all that's on your plate right now.

Wishing you the best of luck with a very difficult situation. Sending you a hug and a prayer that gma moves OUT soon and that your mother does the right thing here.
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PsychPEG22 Mar 1, 2021
I have a therapist. We've talked about it a couple of times, but I don't think I've correctly communicated the gravity of the situation. I'll read what I wrote to her so we can work on coping mechanisms. Ignoring the guilt-tripping under headphones has been my main coping mechanism, but she often explodes over dinner and threatens to leave. I have to physically block her from leaving so we can convince her not to drive off (she just started a new medication and cannot drive for a few more days). She emerged from the basement for dinner tonight but refused to acknowledge my presence. I'm on the silent treatment, I guess. I'm so over it.

Mom and I talked about having her spend a few weeks with her sister a state away because of this behavior. I guess the logic is if she spends some time away, she won't want to come back. She is so unpredictable that that might just work. We'll see what my mom tells me after my grandmother goes to bed tonight.

Thank you to everyone for your suggestions and support!
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Again Alva can correct me but I understand once there is ascites thats pretty much the last stage of the liver desease. And because Gma does not do what she needs to do control her diabetes, she may not live much longer. Your Mom may want to call in Hospice.

Maybe you just need to walk away. Go to your room and lock the door. I would say that by not controlling her diabetes and toxins in her body its effecting her mind. Meaning she is having symptoms like Dementia. By not controlling her diabetes, her kidneys may not be working properly. She really needs to be evaluated by her doctor. Labs and tests.

If she is taken to the hospital and/or then rehab have her evaluated for 24/7 care. Your Mom can then refuse to take her home. Then Gma can go into LTC and Mom apply for Medicaid if Gma has no assets.
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You are 18. If your Mother has chosen to take on the care of this woman, your grandmother, then that is her choice for her life.
You however need to now make a life for yourself. You should be considering moving on to school, or work and your first small apartment.
You should be now coping with your own life moving forward. That will be a full time job for you. If you have extra time assist Mom with shopping or appointments or even a respite away from the house.
You are at the very beginning of a life of your own. Don't give this time up.
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This is a tricky one. These are some things to think about.

You say that your GrandMother is lying to her doctor/s. Her doctor can’t talk to you about her, but you can talk (or better, write a letter) to her doctor. State what you think are lies and what is the true situation, healthwise. Set out the difficult behaviours. State the effect that it is having on you and your mother. The doctor can check it, and it may change things.

Get yourself some good ear plugs, and use them. You then don’t have to listen to her all the time. Some ‘free time’ in your own head may help you in more than one way.

On this site we often have discussions about when ‘helping’ becomes disabling rather than enabling. It’s possible that your mother is doing this for GM, but also possible that you are doing it for your mother. Your post only mentions cleaning up the kitchen after GM, but there may be more. Caring for GM is not your responsibility. Is your support stopping your mother from seeing how impossible the situation is? Could you change that?

Can you do a little research on your GM’s health issues? From the sound of it, her problems are advanced, and she may not have long to live. If her life expectancy is quite short, can you give yourself a ‘deadline’ for managing? (sorry about the wording)

Your college should have a student support service, even though you may not be able to attend in person. Contact them, and use them as a sounding board as often as you need to. Don't rely on first year psych to work it all out, get help. (And my daughter's first year psych course seemed to be mostly about rats anyway)

Best wishes in a difficult situation, Margaret
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PsychPEG22 Mar 1, 2021
The "more" is helping her up when she can't get up, which isn't often but tends to be highly dramatic. She passed out from low blood sugar (refused to eat), stripped, and peed herself on the floor. I missed a meeting to help her that time. Now I just ignore her and clean up her messes wherever she leaves them. She won't, and my mom doesn't need the stress.
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Can you talk to your mother privately about this? (Away from grandmother.) Perhaps explain to her that g'ma is causing you a great deal of stress, and explore whether there is any option to move g'ma to a nursing facility? However, in all likelihood, your mother is stressed by this also, and if she has been in abusive relationships, she may not have the ability/skills to stand up to her mother. Do some reading about establishing boundaries: not a perfect solution, but at least it will help YOU focus of what you are willing to tolerate from g'ma, instead of the focus always being on g'ma. (G'ma probably likes having the focus on her; is probably engaging in tactics to keep it there.) I agree with a previous poster that you may want to research 'narcissistic personality disorder', particularly in reference to mothers (also applicable to g'mas). This may explain g'ma's behavior, and help you develop some skills/responsive behaviors to protect yourself. Good luck with this, and stay with your college plans. You sound like you have a bright future.
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Reply to stilldealing1
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The best thing you can do for yourself is read and research narcissism and manipulation, possibly gaslighting as well. Once you can understand how manipulative and narcissistic people operate, you can untangle and unweave the web of lies they sow into their own heads and how they spit their poison on to other people. Once you’re able to understand how they operate, it is helpful to research tactics and coping mechanisms in order to deal with them.

Don’t let your grandma steal your light and cause anxiety and burden on you. You are to young and have to much to experience in life to be burdened at such a young age by ridicule and guilt.

Best of luck to you
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PsychPEG22 Mar 1, 2021
My father is a narcissist. The best thing for me then was ignoring him and knowing that what he said wasn't true for me or him. But it seems like what she thinks I do is real for her? I guess it's not so different after all. Thank you for your advice.
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Grandma needs to be in a facility. If she is having ascites, her fatty liver disease is fairly advanced.
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Reply to Bridger46164
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Your mother needs to make a change and move grandma somewhere else. Your home should be peaceful. Have you talked to her about this living arrangement not working for anyone involved? If mom isn’t willing to act, your choices are to isolate yourself away from your grandmother or move out yourself. I’m sorry you’re living in this, protect your health, both physically and emotionally
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PsychPEG22 Mar 1, 2021
We've talked about the living arrangement not working, Unfortunately, I can't move out due to an arrangement in my parents' marital settlement (I also have no money because I can't get a job due to COVID times). We're considering having her move out, but no one wants to pressure her. She's always threatening to move out and never does. I wish she would.
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