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I live long distance from my elderly parents. Dad slowing down, Mom picked up a lot of slack as a caregiver because Dad can't do as much now, but has always been an "overdoer" which is my nice way of saying she has a bit of a martyr complex. She is very stressed out, has lost some good friends in the past couple of years, complains about how tired she is, etc. She has been very short and I'll just say it - unkind - numerous times in the past year. I understand this is a really hard time for her. She has always been a bit of a control freak, but we got along and had fun together in the past. Childhood was a little rocky. I think she is unhappy about her marriage and this has affected her outlook on life. At this point in time, she is giving me the silent treatment and won't say why. I can guess - she's not happy that I willingly moved farther away from them due to my husband's job. But since she won't talk to me about it, I can only guess. This has been going on for close to a month. In the past 6 months she hasn't called me (though I talk to my dad every week). She doesn't want to get on the phone. When she does get on the phone, she is sullen and rude. When I tried to talk to her about coming out for a visit to help them with stuff, she gets very condescending and tells me how busy I am and they don't need my help. So I went and booked a flight anyway. I'm going to be there on Friday, fly back on Monday. She isn't talking to me, so her text response was "Your father will have a list for you." I can only assume that she will make the list, give it to my dad to give to me. Major passive aggression going on. FYI Dad and I have a good relationship. No issues there.


I have a sister who lives in their town, but she doesn't check in on them regularly and does her own thing. She'll come over and visit on a holiday but really isn't in the trenches when that's needed. Not trying to sound like the hero, but I'm basically the responsible kid and I'm trying to figure out why my mom is villainizing me at this point in time. What purpose does it serve for her?


Advice?

This is a tough one.....Your mother needs help, nearing the end, scared to death, unsure of who will help and so she dumps on you because YOU allow her behavior. I would stand very, very firm and tell her (and the rest of the family) that this is YOUR time of life and you are going to go with your husband as that is your future and you have a right to that. You will help to the extent you can but you also have a life to live and no one is going to do it for you. State your case in detail. Suggest ways to help her, i.e. caretaker, guardian, placement, whatever. And tell your mother in no uncertain terms, bad behavior, regardless of the reasons will NOT be tolerated under NO circumstances. If she acts up, tell her off and immediately leave. Don't put up with bad behavior - it will only get worse. If your sister will not cooperate or help, then you make the decisions what to do with your mother - caretaker or facility - and do whatever it takes. She is making her bed, let her lie in it. As to your sister, do you really want to be part of her if she is so "selfish"? Why does that matter to you. Move on if need be. Get tough.
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Reply to Riley2166
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Sounds like she’s really trying to put a guilt trip on you . Don’t play into it. Have a good time with your dad while your there and make an extra effort to show him a lot of attention. I would take him I gift she doesn’t deserve one. She is being selfish and why should you let her bad moods bring you down. Yes she’s your mother and I’m sure there’s bleeding hearts out here that will say feel sorry for her she’s under stress well we all are . I am one of them my husband has Dementia and Parkinson’s a bad heart a 9.8 aorta aneurism, diabetes is in diapers and now can no longer get out of bed. But do you think for one minute I put any kind of guilt trip on our kids his or mine? Absolutely Not I made my own bed and I’ll continue to make it.
if your mother is mad enough at you
that she can’t have a normal conversation with you that’s her problem . Stop calling her for a change only call your dad , your mother will either get over her bad mood or she will only have her self to blame.
Good luck to you
its a shame family try to manipulate other family members to do what they want .
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Reply to Heartaches7849
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Your guess is probably correct, however you deserve to be with your hubby for his new job. what good would come of you in one place and your hubby in another, it would damage that relationship. maybe your mom feels abandoned because even though she did everything herself she knew you were there as a backup if needed......now its the other sister who doesn't do anything. maybe you could suggest someone to come in 2 times a week to help relieve some of the burden off your mother (if she would allow it). other than that, not much else you can do. i wish you luck
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Reply to wolflover451
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Whike it seems your mom was always on the controlling side, she is now in the position she no longer has a choice, everything is solely on her shoulders and while in her younger days had your dad even if she was the enforcer to help, she is ALONE now. Your moving away she feels aba8, while this isn't the case, your job is to your husband and be a support for your mom and dad. Not be consumed by their needs. Mom needs help, she doesn't want to admit it. She doesn't want anyone to see her as a failure, especially her kids.
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KristineB Jun 18, 2021
Exactly 💜👏👏👏👏🙏
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Hi,
Your mom’s demeanor is telling…..she can’t deal with everything, she needs help! As you probably already know there’s not much in life that we can really control, parent’s included. Finally accepting this was very difficult for me.

Your mom needs a break for 2-4 hrs a day several times per week. Now she may balk at this idea but she needs it. If she doesn’t take care of her mental, emotional, physical and spiritual health and well being she too will need help. She needs to put on her oxygen mask before she can help your dad. There are companion aides that can come into the house for 3-4 hrs x 2/wk. In my area it costs $29/hr (Ithaca, NY). I recently changed from a companion aide for my 88 yo mom to a day program where she can interact with other seniors doing crafts, exercises, games, nostalgia, etc. This has changed her normally negative attitude. She’s there 5 days per wk for 5 hrs. Cost is markedly more manageable at $10/hr.

Remember this isn’t about you, it’s about you’re mom feeling vulnerable and probably scared. Anger is just noisy fear.

Perhaps a geriatric counselor may also be of value. Please remember you deserve to have a life, you can help your parents but you can’t change them.

I hope something I said is helpful!
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Reply to BAJHJD1956
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Sounds simple but its not easy to go through. JUST IGNORE IT.
When my mother was moved to assisted living (I say was moved, because she was living rent free but paying £100 a month towards all bills, in an annex attached to our house, but her rudeness, erratic behaviour, double incontinence, falls and the stress she was causing was making me ill so I told her she had to go somewhere to be properly "monitored" and helped.) She didn't talk to us for six months, sought legal advice on whether she could claim anything from us, changed banks, took out money from an investment (£5000) which to this day she cannot account for, and let a "friend" do what she wanted with her possessions etc.
She was very rude about us to anyone she spoke to - staff, visitors etc, and was very rude and aggressive to the staff and other residents.
This went on until she needed some help sorting out some financial issues which had arise because she had closed one bank account and opened another without dealing with any payments in or out.
Suddenly she found herself "dumped" by the so called friend and needing us.
Since this time things have improved and at the time of writing we can do no wrong.
Moral of rather long winded story - JUST IGNORE IT, until the day she realises she is being unreasonable. I would make the effort whilst she was being unreasonable to phone once a fortnight, and tell her I was hanging up now when she started to be rude, and we had very good communication with the facility manager and were kept fully up to date with any issues or things that arose - but it was something we just had to go through to get past her narcissism are unreasonableness.
Say what you want to say don't candy coat things when you are with them, and if necessary and friction persists arrange with your sister to phone you once a week or fortnight with a report, but don't let her stress you and make you ill, she has no right to do this, and you have no responsibility to take it. Mother's in particular can be very manipulative and guilt instilling - stand up for yourself as the adult you are, I know it is hard when you have always been the child and roles are reversing, but keep to the path you feel is right for YOU first and her IF she co-operates. Good luck.
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Reply to TaylorUK
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It sounds like her feelings are hurt that you moved away & won’t be there for her.
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Reply to Kelkel
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It serves no purpose for either of you .. Being a CareGiver 24/7 is depressing .. If you have never been one, day in and day out, you really do not understand. Your Dad is no longer the man he was , which is very sad . It’s also very sad for your mom. The man in her life is no longer who he was. She now has her chores and worries, his chores and his worries and the all house hold issues. I do not know if memory issues are involved or not. From personal experience, the last 4 years in my home have led me to a wonderful CareTakers group , anti depressants, and one on one therapy . My mans slowing down was not the issue , it was the way I was reacting to his “slow down “ . The frustration, exhaustion , and recognition of the situation I was in, I scared me .I am sure he was not the only one I was unpleasant with . I could not do it alone. I got some in home help . My girls are 1800 miles away and have family’s of there own. They work. . For a while I was not able to really talk to them about my feelings. I knew there was nothing they could do and I was depressed and frustrated. He, my man, can not help his decline. He has cognitive issues. His brain is broken . With the help of my group I am doing better. I can share with my girls and treat him much better than I did before. I work very hard at not reacting to the thing that we’re driving me up a wall as I did before. He can not change, I can . I hope things work out for you and your mom . Cut your self and your mom some slack ...
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MichelleWTX99 Jun 13, 2021
Thank you so much for sharing this insight as the wife of a person with health and cognitive issues.

Hearing your comments and how you sought help gives me two insights:
1. What my aging mom with health issues may be feeling ( she is divorced and living with me) because she seems unable / unwilling to articulate her feelings and instead is mean and critical

2. What I need to do for myself as a caregiver to stop the overwhelm and drain on my life.
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Tribe16: Imho, unfortunately, your mother is transferring her unhappiness on to you, for reasons unknown. I did see your update of 7 hours ago. I do hope that your mother can get some help for her unhappiness, e.g. perhaps a counselor. Best of luck.
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Reply to Llamalover47
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Your mom isn't happy and she blames you. Since she is playing the "guessing game" and that keeps you unbalanced, she feels she is "winning" at controlling you.

My suggestion is to not play along with her passive aggressive control games. I suggest you and your hubby read any of the "boundary" books by Townsend and Cloud to learn strategies so you can deal with your mom's problem behavior.
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Tribe16 Jun 16, 2021
It's in my Audible Taarna, thank you!
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Your mother sounds selfish, immature and dissatisfied with her life. It’s not your problem…it’s hers. If I were you I’d spend the day with your father (but I’d sleep at a hotel) and if your mother wants to be included good. If not it’s her loss!
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Reply to Susanonlyone
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Quick update - within 20 minutes of arriving, Dad and I back in the car with 5 hours of errands. Mom was pleasant, didn't acknowledge any bad behavior, neither did I - she got some quiet time at home which I know hasn't happened in forever. Dad was wiped out when we got back and went down for a nap. Mom told me she didn't want to fix dinner for all of us and we'd have to do take out - I offered to make dinner and make some freezer meals which she declined... I asked if there was anything else she needed today and she declined... she showed me her full and organized freezer (they eat super healthy and I know she doesn't like to eat out anyway, Dad and I went out during our errands.) I said no problem, I had to do homework in my hotel room anyway. So yesterday was as good as could be expected. My future daughter in law had a bridal shower this morning (out of state, watched on zoom this morning with her future sister-in-laws) in the hotel room. Told mom I'd come over with my laptop if she wanted to watch, but she didn't so... anyway, I'm headed over there now. Last time we broached the subject of POA, she got mad at me and said "I'm too busy (meaning me, not her)" and they were going to get a fiduciary. I think she gets in moods and cuts her nose to spite her face. We'll see how things go today to broach again.

Thank you for the encouragement.
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NYCmama Jun 12, 2021
Keep doing what you’re doing. Your Mom is tired and frustrated and I suspect very grateful you came and helped out. Give her your 3 day best and a few hugs. I think what she can’t express is how lonely and restricted she feels. As for POA, make a promise to research one and set up an appointment for your next visit. Perhaps you can even get your parents to visit you for a brief “vacation”. Sometimes all it takes is to hit the re-set button. I hope your weekend ends well and that your mom feels safe enough to express her appreciation. Many blessings.
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Sounds like Mom needs a confidant and some really good friends to help her navigate through these difficult times of aging and loss. She is probably terrified and just doesn't know how to express it; she wouldn't want her child to know what she is going through and how hard it is. Fear and frustration can look a lot like anger. Need can look like selfishness. Love is patient, love is kind, love will carry others even when it looks like they don't really need it. Just continue to reassure her that you care and will be there when she needs you. Don't take it personally when she doesn't talk, she probably doesn't know what to say or how to say it. who wants to share their negative feelings of helplessness and hopelessness with their babies. Aging is not for the faint of heart and we don't want our children to see us faint. She may just need the occasional reassurance that she is not alone and that there are people that will love her when she feels unlovable.
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MichelleWTX99 Jun 13, 2021
Such a godly answer. Love the 1 Corinthians 14 reference. This comment is very helpful for me also tonkeep thr eoght spirit towards my mom. The advice from others about boundaries is still valid, but I want to maintain them out of love and with a loving spirit.
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What I don't know about siblings is a lot, but any chance of meeting with sis while you're in town. Explain she needs to check in on mom and dad once a week, which should not cut into her party schedule too much. Maybe you can fly in every 6 weeks or so for a weekend? Not necessarily pleasant or cheap, but that's what caregivers do.
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Reply to Tynagh
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Hello wonderful daughter.
* It seems to me that you need to deal with your guilt or unmet needs from what your expectations are from 'a mother figure.' I will presume that much was lacking as you were growing up - and/or
* Your mother may have some dementia - brain functioning triggering her. You cannot do anything about this IF she doesn't want you're support / assistance.
* DO NOT allow yourself to be a martyr. Deal with your own unfinished business, emotionally and psychologically.
* You are an exceptional daughter - dedicated, showing up, consistent, caring, compassionate.
* From the outside looking in, I would focus on your dad. He must experience a lot of his wife's (your mom's) frustration, resentment, anger. He will soak up your loving, compassionate support and caring.
* As many say here, you can't change your mother. Only she can. You can be available. Until then, if it was me, I would step back - WAY BACK - unless or until your mom reaches out to you.
* She is in a lot of pain and fear. She feels stuck and doesn't know how to get out of her internal hell. (I might be a bit dramatic here). You cannot fix her.
* She could benefit from therapy (as I believe you could - to learn to let go) and certainly a caregiver to help as needed.
YOU MUST take care of you/rself before you can be available for an/other. So glad you are visiting your Dad and seeing how it goes w/your mom. I know it is very difficult to create emotional/psychological safety barriers around your-self... I kept trying for three years w/a client full of rage with me being the target. (Yes, I stayed due to needing the work). In any case, give yourself plenty of TIME OUTS, regroup, refocus (your thoughts - to change your feelings).
- Try doing some visualizations and affirmations. IT WILL HELP TREMENDOUSLY to visualize ahead of time a tranquil, calming, beautiful environment you've experienced (or perhaps a loving experience w a spouse or your own child) when you feel triggered. YOU NEED to learn to change the channel. As I learned in a counseling training program, visualize a TV station and then see yourself changing the channel. Learning to 'shift' out of a present, unhealthy situation is critical to your own well being.
- Give yourself a lot of applause and a self-hug, for being the outstanding, loving daughter you are. Gena.
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AT1234 Jun 12, 2021
I started to mention dementia as in her not him, take a breath please talk to sister, but I’ve been in your shoes ok still am. My moms was difficult relation too but dementia made everything more complicated. Trust me, “sweeping your own porch” is great thought but just can’t happen in all situations. Grace.
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Let me tell you something about these over-doers or 'martyrs'. They not only ruin their own lives, but everyone else's as well. Your father also suffers because of your mother's martyrdom.
Your sister gets off free and clear because with martyrs they pick a scapegoat they can passively-aggressively dump on. Unfortunately, it seems your number came up. Your mother will continue to lay one guilt-trip after another on you or keep up the silent cold shoulder towards you. She'll probably step up the skulking and rudeness too because what she wants from you is a fight when you're there in person. Don't give her one. This is what martyrs do. They need someone else to be just as miserable and unhappy as they are. They also love big blow-up fights too. It usually gets them the sympathy and pity they always crave.
That old saying "Misery loves company" is the God's honest truth.
I speak from experience. I've been the scapegoat of my mother's martyrdom since the age of six when our father moved out. He was no longer there for her to dump on so she found someone else to become a psychological and emotional landfill for her. Unfortunately for me, it was me.
Stop playing your mother's game. If she refuses to accept the kind of help you're willing and able to offer, there's nothing you can do about that. Don't beat yourself up with guilt and shame like you're doing something wrong because you're not.
Good for you going to see your father. When you get there throw her "list" in the garbage and ask your dad what he wants you to do to help out. Then in very plain English, tell your mom to climb down off her Cross and that if she's unwilling to accept outside help with the caregiving, there's nothing anyone can do. If she insists on doing it all herself, then put up and shut up.
This is what I finally had to do with my mother and her martyrdom. It took me almost 40 years to do it. Your relationship with her will improve when she finally knows that you are not her scapegoat anymore. You will even see some respect growing too.
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Reply to BurntCaregiver
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The answer is very clear but you do not see the facts. Your sister is a lost cause. Evidently she may always have been this way and it is NOT going to change. She has it too good and won't step up to the plate. That leaves YOU. Your mother is angry and frustrated because SHE sees the writing on the wall - old age, more responsibilities, and you are not at her beck and call. From what you write, she was never a kind, loving person and I believe what you sow is what you reap. Her personality and her lack of care are catching up with you - and you are her only "prey and hope" to continue this pattern. She can't stand the thought that YOU are doing what you can do to make her happy but that is not enough. Basically she wants YOU at her beck and call and would like if if you left YOUR life and gave it to her. DO NOT FALL FOR THIS. You will lose all that is dear and valuable to you and she will suck you dry. She is trying to make you feel guilty and let you know she wants to be the boss. Do not fall for her tricks of how she acts to make you feel. Set very firm and hard boundaries - and stick to them - Perhaps it is time for a caretaker. Tell her there will be rules to abide by. Love her but don't let her tell you what to do - it is your time for your life. Make sure all affairs are current and complete and start thinking of placement where they are cared for. Discuss options with and eldercare attorney so you are prepared for what comes down the pike.
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Reply to Riley2166
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You are being ghosted, its a rare one way behavior of noncommunication done to terminate a relationship. It won't help to try to make sense of it because it doesn't.
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There is no way for me to know what your Mother is feeling, but I learned a new perspective from my Mom that people don’t dare confess. My Mother had Martyr Complex. One thing I did learn from her was, when she felt overwhelmed, she was unable to talk about what she was feeling or ask for help, because even talking about that exhausted her even more. That’s when the silent treatment kicked in. I guess she wanted me to read her mind( unrealistic I know). When my Dad’s chronic illness health declined even more & caring for him became more than she could handle ( plus Dad had always had a very difficult personality), she confided in me that she couldn’t take care for him anymore, but felt terrible guilt because “she had to comply with her marriage vows”. That’s when I understood & sympathized that a big part of her overwhelming feelings & behavior was that she didn’t want to fail on her marriage promise to him in the final stretch of their 55 years of marriage because physically, emotionally, mentally she couldn’t care for him anymore. Months after Dad died, she said to me “ I complied. I kept my vows”. I cried with her, but felt a sense of relief for her.
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Reply to CaringRN
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You are feeling hurt because your mother is not being the loving person you want her to be, but on your short visit, try to put your own feelings aside and think about your parents' needs. See if you can be helpful in any way, because they probably need your help. Your mother may be feeling hurt that you are so far from them as they age and can't visit as often. It's difficult for everyone being a long distance from elderly parents. Use this time to help them plan for their future, if they haven't done it. Are you POA or do you think they would want you to be? Make sure all of the paperwork is in order for their power of attorney for medical and financial matters, a living will with their medical directives, a will, and many banks and financial institutions also have their own POA forms. Someone needs to be on file with Social Security and Medicare to speak on their behalf. At least talk about this with your Dad. They might need an attorney for this. Your mother sounds stressed and she is going to need help over time. If they can afford it, encourage your Dad and Mom to hire more help for your mother. Your mother is not going to be able to care for your father on her own if his condition declines. For now, does your mother have help with cleaning, laundry, etc? That could be a start. A person should be on call for maintenance around the house, gardening, helping change high light bulbs, etc. If they are in an area with snow, have a person on call to shovel snow. (They should lock up valuables and financial papers if there are people coming into their house.) When you are there, assess for yourself how they are doing. Is the house in order and clean? I also lived quite far from my parents, and realized that things were getting to be too much for my mother (who was caregiver for my father) when I visited them at one point and saw that the house was dirtier than it used to be. Talk to your father so that you understand their wishes if things get to be too much for them or if their health declines. They have two basic options: get in-home care or move to a senior facility. Senior facilities may have all levels of care: independent living, assisted living, memory care and skilled nursing. Some facilities have them all in one place (I think this is preferable), with others, your parents would have to move if they need a higher level of care. Good luck, and try to be forgiving towards your mother who is probably very stressed out and worried, even though she is putting on a brave face.
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Reply to NancyIS
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Sadly, welcome to your life for the next who-knows how many years.
I guess all I want to say is that we hear you.
Your mom is clearly stressed; let's hope she comes around during your visit.
I've only been dealing with this big-time since my dad died in September.
Before that, I was able to keep a hand in things from three hours away for the past decade with varying degrees of help from my siblings.
My sister and I are a good team now. My brother, zip. We stopped being passive-aggressive and told him a couple things we needed done...crickets.
I too am the responsible daughter and I feel for both your mom and you.
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I suspect your mother "knows" that you will never abandon her, so you are a safe sounding post for her fear, anger, and frustration. - Sort of a backwards compliment.
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If mom gives a list or verbal messages to dad that are intended for you, go directly to her and have a chat. Preferably just the two of you. Open the conversation with the list in your hand (since she referred to a list) or 'dad said you told him to tell me about xx'. Then ask why she is not talking to you. No response from her? - you might have to go for her 'guilt-emotion response button' and pull out of the ammo.
---I'm your daughter --I wish I could live closer, but I have to go where hubby's job goes -- It breaks my heart when you don't talk to me, especially when I don't know why you're mad. IF it's something I can fix, I will. If I said something to hurt you, I apologize --- I don't like our relationship being like this. What if something happened to one of us and we hadn't been talking or being friendly to each other? Wouldn't it hurt you to live like that? It would hurt me terribly --

keep going if you see you are getting a few tears because it means she still has emotion and cares about your feelings. Don't force words out of her right away, let her think about it.

It's very possible as your dad slowed down, you gave him a little more attention. There are lots of moms who are jealous of daughter/father relationship because mom sees them talking, laughing, enjoying each other while her relationship with dad is X number of years together that has all the ups/downs/arguments of the marriage.

If dad does try to relay msgs to you (from her), go directly to her and discuss. Make her explain what she wants. If she refuses to talk. Tell her when she is ready to talk - you'll be there until Monday to discuss and handle whatever it is she needs. Whatever she wants needs to come from her - don't tell dad to relay msgs. It is hurtful to you.
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Family can be hard. I suggest writing a note to express - whatever you need to - since she is not talking - but make sure it is non-accusatory, expresses your love to her, etc. Family often acts out the worse with the safest person. That is ok - as long as you have good boundaries and can absorb what they need to get out with love and again, boundaries. I'd continue to call anyhow - you don't own her response. You do own your acts and obligations to your parents. She is suffering and you cannot fix it for her, but you can continue to walk with her. If she allows it fine. But sometimes all you can do is keep showing up. Love and hugs.
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Reply to sparkielyle
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You really shouldn't worry about it because there's absolutely nothing you can do about it.

Stop asking her.
If she wants to tell you she will.
She be nice and let her act any way she wants.

Maybe if you ignore her she'll stop when not getting a reaction from you.

LIke you said, you're not their only child and they probably don't even ask the other for any help.

Your mom knows you moved for your husband's job.

Does she want to relocate to where you are?

You might ask them both if they would like to both go live in a Senior Apartment then go visit a couple.

Maybe they need to set up a Caregiver to come by a few hrs a day, maybe they could have groceries delivered, maybe your mom just needs a break for an outing out of the house.

Maybe you could take her to lunch or to get a manicure or hair done, while in town visiting.

Just being there and seeing what is going on should give you glues to what is needed.

Prayers
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TouchMatters Jun 12, 2021
Let mommy get her own hair done or a manicure. Better yet, this caring daughter could offer to take her dad for a pedicure and a haircut. Let the mother be home 'doing what she does.'

As long as mommy holds on to this anger / resentment - taking out her frustrations and FEARS on this daughter, I do not see any reason to continue to roll out the red carpet. It sounds to me like this daughter has already given 200% (to her mother) and continues to do what she can another 200% for her dad. And, this daughter could take her dad out to lunch and invite the mother, who likely will say "No Thanks" as she chooses to stay stuck in resentment.
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You sound amazing and like you have it under control. I recognize certain traits your Mom has that I have also. That is, when I get hurt or angry I clam up. Its a very unproductive characteristic that has caused me more harm than anything else. That said, I commend your resolve to do what you can. Please let us know how your weekend is going!
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Thank you for all of the comments, suggestions and thoughts. I am in my hotel now about ready to drive over there. I don't stay at their home because they are in a retirement community and to be honest, I need a little space to decompress each evening after my visit.

Right now my goal is to let mom drive the train. I have prayed and prayed for grace to be a duck and let stuff roll off my back. That's if she's argumentative. If she's sulky, I'll let her know I'm ready to listen to whatever she has to say. If she remains silent I will silently remind myself there's no use in begging. If I use up my list of things to do, I have some suggestions on things I'm able to help with, if they are met with a negative response, I will let them go. I'm not sure what I'll be walking into today, I'm taking it one day at a time.

My sister and I are not close, not at odds either. She is a party girl, free spirit and does her own thing. Mom doesn't ask for any help from her. I will try and offer to take them out for a meal, but while I am perfectly capable of paying for it, it is usually a battle of wills and my mother is like a dog with a bone on paying for everything (or having my dad pay), so I usually give up to keep the peace.

I am bound and determined not to let her ruffle me this weekend, which is hard, but I have been a good student of what to do and not to do when passive-aggressive behavior is going on - I realize it's what I've learned from an early age, I don't anticipate Mom will stop, I recognize it in myself, and I don't want to do it anymore. All I can do is control my own attitude, and hope that any help I give this weekend makes life a little easier on them.
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Isthisrealyreal Jun 11, 2021
You got this!

Have a great weekend and do what you feel like you need to and grey rock your momma if necessary.
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You did what you did because you had to. For now just let things run off your back. Your only here 3 days. Ignore her remarks.
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None of us knows your family like you do, I will go by your comments regarding your mom being unhappy.

You say that you have a good relationship with your father. That’s wonderful! Enjoy your time spent with him. It isn’t your fault that your mom isn’t communicating with you. You offered her a chance to speak and she declined. I realize that you would like a better relationship with her and of course it hurts that you don’t.

If you wish to look at the ‘the list’ made for you, agree to do whatever you want to do. If something isn’t agreeable to you, simply say that you aren’t going to do it.

Do your parents have money to pay for their needs? If they do, they don’t have to rely on you or your sister. They can hire someone to help with whatever is necessary.

My youngest daughter moved several states away from us shortly after graduation. She loves where she is living and has landed a great job. We. are very happy for her. My oldest daughter lives near us. We don’t expect either of them to do anything for us. We want them to live their own lives. They have busy lives and do not need to be concerned about our needs.

Love isn’t about expectations or controlling others actions. I wish that more people understood this. More people would be content in their lives. So much unhappiness is due to people being concerned over what others do.

There is a saying that I am very fond of, “Sweep your own porch first before telling others to sweep theirs.” So, sweep your porch and allow your mom to sweep hers, or NOT sweep it. It’s her porch.

Enjoy your life with your husband. Enjoy your time with your dad. If your mom has a history of being miserable, let her be miserable. If she refuses to speak to you, it’s her loss. I hope there never comes a day that I don’t speak to my daughters. The bottom line is, you can never make your mom be happy, nor can your dad or sister. Your sister has probably already figured that out which is why she keeps her distance.

Don’t rely on others for your happiness and don’t feel as if you have the power to make an unhappy person happy. You can’t!

All the best to you.
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Beatty Jun 10, 2021
I just love your "sweep your porch" saying!

Agree. If Mom needs a bit of help or maybe a lot of help, with Dad, housework or just sick of cooking.. hopefully she can arrange what she needs, a house cleaner, meal delivery service etc. Or speak up to ask where to find help. It IS hard to ask for help I know! But it IS her porch after all.

Clear communication will help so much more that the silent treatment or passive aggressive behaviour.

It's not the OP's job to turn up to be the *Fixer*.
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Your question doesn’t really explain how bad things are. “Childhood was a little rocky ” - Well, whose wasn’t? Mother was “a bit of a control freak” - What teenager doesn’t think that setting a curfew isn’t being a control freak? She is “very condescending and tells me how busy I am” - My mother worried about how busy I was when I took time off my work while she was dying, and it wasn’t condescension.

Your sister “really isn't in the trenches when that's needed”. Why not? Does she have a different take on from you what’s needed? Perhaps mother isn’t ‘villainizing’ you, perhaps she just doesn’t have the energy to say the things that would make you feel good. Perhaps you just don’t have much relevance in her life at the moment.

It might be helpful to make your short trip more about getting your sister’s view point, and a better understanding of your mother’s work load. And perhaps stay in a hotel, rather than leave mother with the bedding to deal with before and after you stay. It can be really hard to understand reality from a distance.
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