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My mother wants to live independently, yet have me assume all the responsibilites for her to live independenly in her own home. I live an hours drive and have responsibilites of my own. She doesn't want to hire any outside help, which she can afford. My sister takes her shopping, but my mother would not think of asking her for any additional help it would be too much for my sister. The other two sisters live too far away. My mother expects me to take her shopping for gifts that my far away sister wants to buy her. I have build so many barriers, limited my contact and yet she still has these expectations. I have even told her I cannot assume so much of her needs. She has backed off, but the minute I give her an inch she is back to her requirements for me. What am I to do with a mother who has no dementia and just seems to ignore what I have say to her and continues to try and use me? How do I get through to her without being disrespectful? I am at the end of my patiences dealing with her continued expectations, yet I don't want to disown her. Her rational about paying for unnecessary outside care or getting outside help doesn't cut it with me. She is in a far better financial situation than I am.

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Madge1' mother sounds like my father and Ive been through similar coping and came to the same conclusion. Unfortunately now, as an only child, he is at the point of not being able to live alone, but still insists on having everything his own way. I have had occasional success through behavior modification. He always wants to be center of attention, so when he does something offensive I avert my head and don't look at him. If that doesn't work, I get up and go in the other room, out of sight. He often wants to argue, so I simply stop talking, avert my eyes, pretend to be/fall asleep, go elsewhere. It works on the smaller behavior problems. As to the larger ones, fixations and obsessions, I'm still looking for solutions. Sometimes I can distract him by switching topics or giving him something he likes to eat. Sometimes that doesn't work either.
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When my dad first got sick, I spent most of my non-working hours helping or trying to please them. I reduced my boyfriend relationship to about one date night a week. Gone was my work out time, my active social life, and frankly my self pampered lifestyle. I was OK with that.

My sister could not make herself as available as I chose or could do. But on the occasions when she volunteered to help with work, my mother would say.....do not worry about that, your sister will take care of that! Luckily my sister and I could laugh at this.

If you make yourself available, expectations will be raised. The more you are available, the higher the expectations.

My dad has sinced passed, my sister is taking on the bulk of helping mom.
Mom is old, but in Ok health, she is just lonely. Shortly after dad's passing I reset expectations. I was available, but not as much as before. Instead of dropping by every night I cut back, and now average twice a week

Other people stepped up. My niece and nephew do drop bys at grandmas. Mom spends weekends at sister's. I visit mom about twice a week and take her on a special outing once a month.

I would not take away a minute of the time spent with dad over the past 3 years. I am grateful my sister is taking the lead with mom. When mom needs more help, I will share that burden in the meantime, I am focusing on my guy that I ignored for 3 years, and on a little me time.


The point is if you step back expectations will reset, and maybe your siblings, seeing the void will step up.

If she is cognizant enough, give her a time Budget. I can visit for 3 hours, we need to clean house, do groceries, etc. if she wants you to take her shopping, she may figure out that having someone help with housekeeping, means she can budget your 3 hour gift for a mall trip. Tell her when and for how long you are available, her needs should be prioritized within that time. If buying groceries or medical supplies bites into shopping for sibling gifts that is ok.


Best of luck
L
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Oh dear Debralee, let me tell you about my 82 year old mother who lives independently (and she is amazingly healthy, no AD, no dementia). She won't take care of the yard (that is my brother's job) even though she has the money to do it. She wants my brother to call her, every day to check on her and see if she is dead (her words not mine). Now I would call her, but nooooooo, she hates me, so it has to be her son. She has had two break ins and will not get an alarm system or a life alert, nooooooo, that would cost money. Her son should check on her daily even though he is completely worn out with her selfishness. She won't call anyone, noooo, that would required a back and forth relationship. She hasn't been to my home in 14 years. She can't sleep, can't stand the drive, won't fly (the plane might crash) and forget me flying up to visit her. She only wants company for two days and they need to go. She has shoes to buy and I would get in her way. Besides, I might want her to buy something for me. She won't eat out with friends, why, because she has none. And she won't take me out if I do visit unless it is a greasy buffet where you can eat for 6.00 (I always pay by the way). If anyone is sick, dying, gone missing or whatever, don't ask her about it unless they have personally called to report to her, she doesn't know or care. She has attended no college graduations or weddings of her 4 grand children. Nor does she call, write, text, e-mail or carrier pigeon her grand children. They don't have much to do with her, but, that is their fault.

I have no relationship with this manipulative, nasty woman anymore. I just stopped calling her 3 months ago after I realized she stabbed me in the back, once again. And guess what, I haven't heard from my mother in 3 months, not even on my birthday.

My point? These are people with personality disorders of some sort. I don't have and never will get a physician to diagnose her. She doesn't trust doctors. But I would bet my life that she has a narcissistic personality disorder.

What do I do? Stay away, let it go, have almost zero contact. It is the only way you will ever get out from under the manipulation and selfishness that these types know. It will never change, you have to take control and do what works for you. It may take time to know what that is. I am still trying, but I know I have to keep my distance.

Is it easy? No. I feel terrible that I don't have a loving mother. But that is what I have and I have to deal with it, warts and all. :)
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Borderline personality is really a tough one, because they can be SO charming. I don't think they are suicide risks, are they, just threateners.

Give me some examples, and I'll tell you what to do. I'm much better at fixing your life than mine. Isn't that typical codependent of me? But sometimes it's true.
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Ferris I have miles of barriers, she is a champion jumper. Threatening to slash her wrists, I did that for her, only it was my wrists. Put a gun to my head, wouldn't put it past her if she owned one. She eats lots of junk food and drinks her alcohol. I am the adult, she never got past the maturity age of a teenager. I had years of counseling, she had a lifetime of being coddled. Mother is the codependent, I rely on myself to get by in life. When you deal with a mother who has a borderline personality disorder, spoiled and imature with a high sense of entitlement, you never know which way to turn with her.
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One of my role models is "Miss Manners," aka Judith Martin, who teaches how to stand up for yourself and others while being unfailingly polite. She is willing to be politely mean in defense of the helpless. She is hilarious!
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Ferris, Ouch. You are so strong. We're not that strong. At least I'm not. I "feel bad" if I have to say no to someone, and I "feel bad" when someone "makes" me do things.

I can scream and yell and say no, and feel guilty, or I try to say no nicely, and it doesn't work, or I give in and snarl while doing what "they" make me do. The middle way is hard to find.

You are right that counselling can help a person learn how to get better results. I have read Parent Effectiveness Training, which shows how to manage kids by expressing your needs. You learn to identify "my problem" - This noise is driving me crazy - VS the child's non-problem - I'm playing cops and robbers and yelling and having a good time. It's your problem, not the child's sin, and you are free to identify the solution - Play outside, go to your room to do homework or whatever, without attacking or BLAMING the kid, who is just acting like a kid.

Your mother is doing things to get what she wants. She has every right to do that. It's up to you to prevent her from driving you crazy, not up to her to change behavior which gets her what she wants. The right therapy can teach you how.

I remind myself daily that if I am going to "give in" and provide a service, that I might as well do it out of love instead of resentment. It's good Karma, and if the recipient is capable of gratitude, they might feel some, which is a plus for everyone.

If I can get better at this, so can anyone. It takes time, education and effort. Good luck.
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So, I guess you have answered your own question. If you do not want to help her, then DO NOT. Set boundaries and the minute she crosses that line, stop doing for her. Is she holding a gun to your head? Is she threatening to slash her wrists? Is she not eating or drinking? For once, you be an ADULT, and get counseling for this co-dependent relationship.
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How far along is she in the dementia? My mom is probably 7 years with this dreadful disease and late middle stage. Symptoms that mom exhibits include suspicions of nearly everyone that she doesn't know, and hallucinations. She thinks that strangers in the house are here solely to take her things. On one occasion she actually tried to physically throw an outside caregiver out of the house. She is suspicious of cars that park on the street and think they are here to rob her. And this is endless, constant and numerous times each day. Imagine the difficulty we had a couple of years ago when there was a flood in the basement and the constant flow of different contractors in and out of the house! I'm afraid, that the suspicions are just part of the dementia and will not stop, only get worse. They do not want strangers in the house.
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Can you give us an example of what she says and what you say? It's true that she is unlikely to change, but if you change what you say, her reaction will be different.
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Hi Debralee,
I think you need to remind yourself that your Mom can have any expectations she wants but that doesn't mean it is going to happen. I would not even try to stop her wanting things--it sounds like that I not going to change ---and just stop reacting to them. Easier said then done , I know, but that is all I can think to offer in way of advice. It is frustrating , I am sure! Maybe Mom really enjoys your company far more than your siblings ---no excuse though asking you to run around for her all over the place.

Maybe play"You Can't Always Get What You Want" by The Rolling Stones when Mom start up ;0)


Good luck!!! ((((hug))))
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Quite simply, you lovingly draw a boundary and leave it that. For example, identifying a consistent schedule with your Mom. For example: One or two days a week when you will see her (or whatever).

Your comment about your mom buying items for your sister is, um, annoying. Doesn't your sister know that your Mom is unable to do so on her own? Or do you think your mother is lying simply to get her own way?

Draw the boundary. Stick to it. Soon your Mom will behave differently. Remember, we teach people how to treat us.
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