Navigating the Sandwich
When A Good Daughter Hates Caring for Her Aging Mother
Her aging mother was demanding and impossible. This writer thought she might break
“My first resolution for 2019 is to stop complaining so much about my fucking mother,” I said to my significant other on New Year’s Day this year.
She’s 92, and bravely facing her twilight, a widow just doing her best to get by in the familiar comfort of her home of 40 years. From my point of view, she’s self-absorbed and inexcusably dependent; has been her whole life.
I’m obviously a hideous person. Who could say such things about her own mother?
How My Aging Mother Provokes Me
It’s just that she gets me so angry.
I’m not talking garden-variety annoyance, though I experience that, too. I’m talking bomb cyclone. This dramatic meteorological phrase perfectly characterizes my category-five internal weather at times. When it blows over, I feel enormous shame about my anger. The kind of shame that wakes me at three in the morning to beat me up. To echo Nora Ephron, I feel so bad about my feelings!
I was at the grocery store the other day in line behind two lovely teenage boys. “They were so polite and nice,” the cashier said to me. I complimented her on how nice she sounded with them and she replied, “I like young people. I used to do elder-care, but I came to hate it because old people complain too much. Especially aged baby-boomers who feel entitled. It wore me down.”
I wanted to kiss her for her honesty.
The 4 Stages of Anger at My Aging Mother
Here’s my list of what I call the Four Stages of Hating Caring for an Aging Parent:
1. Annoyance. Mom “forgets” to bring her wallet to restaurants, so I’m obliged to pay. Mom “forgets” her cane when I take her out in the world (she doesn’t want people to think she’s old, she once confessed) so she makes like an albatross on my elbow. Also, she eats only the gooey inside of a wedge of Camembert and leaves the rind for others.
2. Frustration. I recently went to some effort at her request to find her a new orthopedist because she disliked how her original one rushed through appointments. But then she decided it wasn’t her shoulder that hurt, it was her groin. “Okay, Mom, we’ll look into it,” I said and I cancelled the doctor I’d just found.
3. Resentment. Caused by #1 and #2 above. My mother didn’t work for a living and so has always prioritized spontaneity. To survive juggling a staff-job for 30 years while parenting three children as a single mother — I had to kiss spontaneity goodbye in favor of planning, organizing, scheduling. She doesn’t get this, and blithely calls at the last minute for help getting to long-standing appointments.
4. Anger. An ugly sludge builds in me during my days when I have to give half my work day over to caregiving. While I love my mother, there are times when I have to face the grim fact that I don’t enjoy her company. Rather than have a real conversation in which being honest would involve disagreeing with her, I go into my fake, submissive, yes-woman persona to get through these visits.
Mom lived alone self-sufficiently until recent years, when things around the house — like stairs — started to get dangerous. The turning point for me, however, came after a couple of shrill calls about the smoke alarms just as I was sitting down to dinner in my home 40 minutes away.
“Mom, stop yelling,” I’d say. “At least it’s not you burned to a crisp!”
We children decided it was time for scheduled caregivers. Even she agrees that more “company” will be good. “But not live-ins.”
The agencies cost too much so we’re using word-of-mouth to hire part-time helpers. But it’s like herding cats to get them to show up on time. Inevitably, there are last-minute cancellations. And then come the hysterical emails from Mom with the subject line: Damn! Damn! Damn!
I’m pressing the point that it’d be better to institute a more organized, full time caregiver set-up. Alas, Mom has shot down all the candidates we’ve come up with like so many ducks at a carnival shooting gallery. “Too mousy.” “Too gossipy; I don’t want my business spread all over town.” I think the veto-power helps her to feel in-control and alive.
My Aging Mother Doesn’t Want “To Burden” Me
Then, Mom says, “I don’t want to be a burden to any of you.” Translation: I wish one of you would come live with me.
I’ve grown weary of the constant complaining and the expectation that my siblings and I will step in to solve every problem. (Not all ninety-somethings are this dependent, I recently learned. My best friend has a mother nearly the same age who is way more independent and competent; she just sold her house, packed up and moved into the city from the burbs without a peep to her children.)
My mother is, fortunately for you, not your mother. Surely I’ll be infuriating my children in my unique ways a few short decades from now (if I’m lucky). But what is shared among many of us adult children seems to be a distaste for this task. I thought I was prepared for this stage, but it has blindsided me.
I’ve learned I’m not alone in my reactions.
I asked myself why this mother-care is so disturbing and came up with a couple of reasons. One: it just feels crummy to see myself begrudging, withholding, patronizing, spiteful. That’s not me.
Two: isn’t it a violation of the natural order to be parenting the parent as he or she becomes the toddler, especially at a time in our lives when we’ve just finished raising our actual toddlers into adolescence or twentysomething-hood? Why, just when we get to reclaim a life for ourselves — are we dragged right back into servitude? And who wants to see their parent’s naked, wrinkly old whatevers when the hospital gown falls away?
For help with this monstrous swamp of emotions, I turned to Dr. Gretchen Kubacky, a Los Angeles psychologist and Certified Bereavement Facilitator. I asked her 1) what are the origins of such unwieldy feelings and 2) WTF can I — or someone in my same predicament — do to get back to some semblance of yogic balance?
Dr. Kubacky refers to herself on her website as Dr. Gretchen, so I’ll call her that. She says the various feelings we adult-children experience may be connected to the natural order being upended, “but really, it’s just a hope that we won’t all need care like this in the end. Fear of loss, or anticipatory grief, can produce intense feelings of grief, sadness, and longing or yearning — for what will be missed, for things to be the way they were.”
But what triggers that extra dollop of negative feeling?
Anger Triggers for Me With My Aging Mother
“I think the rage about the helplessness or incompetence ties into frustration and fear about one’s own decline or demise. It’s right in your face, this person who probably looks something like you, decaying, and that’s scary. Also, depending upon the person’s diagnosis (for example, some dementias), they may be undergoing a significant personality transformation or loss of memory that is also scary, confusing, and fear-inducing. We expect children to be ‘incompetent,’ but we don’t expect that of adults.”
When I rant a bit about my mother’s assumption that her children will jump through hoops to help her stay at home despite the time-suck her insistence on jerry-rigging imposes, Dr. Gretchen answers mildly, “And don’t you get that, viscerally? The idea of being institutionalized with a bunch of mind-numbingly dull attendants probably sounds like the worst imaginable fate to your mother, who has been independent for so long.” Point taken. “But at the same time, you’re right, it’s incredibly selfish to demand in-home care forever — unless she can afford to hire the best, 24/7.”
I share with her this platitude that seems to rise above the din of unsolicited advice from friends: “You’re lucky that your mother is still above ground to complain about.” I’ve tried to let that inspire me, with only minor success. Dr. Gretchen rejects attitude-adjustment.
“You are not required to be grateful, and you are not a bad person if you’re not only not grateful, but also a little angry, bitter, and resentful. Sometimes there is great beauty in caregiving, but it’s hard to focus on that when you’re overwhelmed with duties.”
Or in my case, overwhelmed with anger.
The Unexpected Role of Sadness With My Aging Mother
“Anger is often the cover emotion for sadness,” she says.
Oh, did I leave out sadness? I guess I did. Add that to the list. “And, there’s a great deal to be angry about in a caregiving position. You miss out on fun or interesting or important things to do menial work, have repetitive conversations, deal with supervising people, anticipate needs that the patient can’t articulate, share (or not share) the burden with siblings or other family members. Old family dynamics flare up during a caregiving period, which can go on for years.”
Dr. Gretchen distinguishes between the current back-burnering of our own priorities and needs, and past back-burnering: “We have a saying, ‘If it’s hysterical, it’s historical.’ In other words, when you’re having a strong visceral emotional response to something, it’s probably not just about what’s happening in the moment. It probably has its roots in old family dynamics.”
Bingo, that’s me. (And I thought this interview with Dr. Gretchen was going to help you.)
Now I know where my missing compassion has been all this time: buried deep beneath unfinished business. Being raised by a self-absorbed mother takes its toll. Mine taught me not to speak up about my needs or insist upon my wants. She told me that was selfish, and I learned I was a selfish, bad girl. I’ve been mindful of that for years, but only now — when the tables have turned and I’m begrudging my mother her needs because she didn’t let me have mine — do I really see that the anger I’ve carried with me through the decades isn’t helpful.
Dr. Gretchen brings it back to sadness: “Maybe you have always been longing to be cared for fully by her, and now that she is on the tail-end of life, it is inescapably clear that she will never care for you the way you wanted her to.”
Does that mean that to properly grieve childhood hurts, you have to let the anger ferment into sadness?
“No,” replies Dr. Gretchen, “I say have the sadness AND the anger. Grief is non-linear. That old Elisabeth Kubler-Ross thing (denial, anger, bargaining, depression, acceptance) sounds all neat and tidy and linear, and it’s just not. You can have all of the emotions, only one or two, skip through a couple, find one arising in five years, and so on. Don’t manage your emotions; let them come to the surface, air them out, and release or integrate them as needed. Repeat until you feel better.”
The Pathway Out of my Anger at My Aging Mother
I do occasionally find it rewarding when I inadvertently make my mother happy by offering her an extra hug at the door, inputting contacts into the speed dial area of her phone so she thinks I’m a genius, telling her her hair looks beautiful, or showing up unexpectedly with dinner on a cold, dark winter night. Then she gives me a bright smile of relief. Maybe instead of thinking “she’ll be dead soon, so be nice now,” I will try pulling the curtain back on my anger to encourage the more delicate, shy feelings to step forward out of my past. If that clears the way for some “great beauty” moments, it’s worth it. I’m betting those will nourish us both.
What’s a grown child to do? Whether you’re experiencing mild annoyance or gigantic resentment, current back-burnering or past sadness in disguise, here are Dr. Gretchen’s steps for moving yourself forward:
Start a conversation in public “No shame in acknowledging the feelings. Like with this article. Also, have individual conversations with people who are in the same position, quite possibly any of your similarly aged friends. You will soon find an abundance of similar feelings.”
Seek out regular support “Friends first, then therapy, and perhaps some sort of online support group (because when you’re busy caregiving, you don’t have a lot of time to get out to a meeting).”
Set boundaries I’d already set my own Mom boundaries: roughly two half-days a week for FaceTime, and the inevitable emails, phone calls, and administrative work on top of that. (My two siblings handle plenty of other matters.) I’m continually trying to clue in the team of helpers and random friends and neighbors to the fact that I have a day job, because they seem to assume that I can just drop everything. Dr. Gretchen says: “Boundaries are everything. Enlist friends or neighbors to check in on the parent while you’re at work… Sign up for a meal-delivery service for them… And take time out for what feels like self-care for you.”
Meditate “Self-care isn’t just about the spas-and-bubble baths type of thing that populates the media. Meditate — now! Download the free Insight Timer Meditation app and pick something. Don’t tell me you don’t have time! One of my favorite meditations is less than two minutes long. Have compassion for yourself and the complexity of feelings you have surrounding this person’s process of aging and dying. Deal with your anger; you don’t want to carry that forward with you past your parent’s death if you don’t have to.”
Need a Group of Friends Who’ve Been There?
Come join the CoveyClub and you get access to our CoveyConnect app and our room called “The Caregiver’s Collective”. Those who are responsible for caregiving speak about their issues and share their resources. We also publish many more stories about caregiving in the blog and cover the topic extensively in our virtual events with experts.
A note about Anonymous: I only have about ten friends, but if one of them saw my name attached to this, and chose to pass it along to Mom, well, I’d be left with nine friends and a needlessly hurt mother. It’s compassion more than shame, I’m fairly certain, that has led me to write anonymously here. While my mother has a remarkable new capacity for openness and honesty as she approaches the edge of the cliff and looks backward to take stock, I see no reason to drag her through the parts of our shared past that would only ignite her sense of failure.
Assignment: Read two books … Motherland by the great Elissa Altman and Saturday’s Child, by … me! Both these stories speak to this theme in different ways and, unexpectedly, seem to be helping readers. All best, Deborah
I am so blown away by this essay. It is spot on and brilliantly articulated.
Thanks Karen. We thought so as well.
Thank you! So well written and accurate for our generation. Any advice on online groups to join?
We will ask the writer. Great question.
EVERYTHING in this is me, and the revelation about her mother telling that her needs didn’t count being the basis for her feelings blew my mind- spot on. Wow.
Thanks Katie: we felt this was an important topic. Glad it hit you right.
Thank you for this! Such a relief when I read again and again that I am not the only “perfect” daughter that has had her cover blown by feelings of anger toward aging mother.
Thank you so much for this essay. I relate so powerfully to the upsurge of blind anger. My mother controlled and manipulated me as a child as if I was clay for her to mould into a device that would make up for her unrealized self. I parented her emotionally from a very early age and had to, later in life, learn – very deliberately – that my existence was not meant to be shaped by the needs of others.
Now that she is 80 and her husband, my stepfather, has dementia, the old pattern of me being her bottomless emotional and physical resource has returned. I am an only child in my late 50s. I have no children of my own and I live on a very low income. I have no pension coming when I reach retirement age. All of the stress of carrying them as well as the fear that I will not be able to care for myself now and in the future (if my 2005 Toyota breaks down, I can’t afford to fix it, for example), leaves me triggered into searing resentment every time my mother repeats the same story that she told me yesterday and the day before, each time as if I have never heard it, as I am trying to get back to my pay-per-service work.
Anyway, reading this blog post has helped me feel less guilty about my resentment. I am still trying to figure out some practical strategies to get through this period of my life and still have some health and energy left when it is finally over.
Thank you so much for sharing! I feel exactly the same way (extreme anger, resentment and sadness for the time my 95-year-old and disabled mother steals from me; time I could be spending with my 10-year-old daughter and my husband. My mother live with us so every single day of my life, for the last 2 years and 3 months, start with me taking care of her. I have amazing help (caregivers who have become friends) and lucky to have a full time job who keeps me away from my mother, but having her in my house means I don’t have a place to come and simply relax with my family. I’m so angry and I hate her so much that I don’t even feel guilty about these feelings anymore! I wish I knew how much longer I will have to do this. Knowing for sure when the nightmare will be over would help me go through it. But there’s no way to know. I feel I’m in hell. I feel my free will has been taken away from me. God help me!
So glad I found this article and totally appreciate all the comments. It feels good to know I am not alone. I feel like I raised my mother and I missed out on a “normal” childhood. My mom struggles with a plethora of mental health issues including depression and anxiety and possible bi-polar disorder.
I literally have PTSD because of her anxiety attacks and her own PTSD. She had horrible nightmares when I was a child and she would wake up screaming, often times she would experience paranoia as well and be convinced someone was in our hour or outside and she would call the police and they would walk through our house at 3 a.m. with flashlights and check all the closets.
Anyway, she moved in with us 5 years ago and I feel like it was the worse decision of my life and feel trapped. To confusing to try and write about here….but ever since she moved in with me I have slowly felt like I am dying. I allow her to suck the life out of me.
Deborah P Higgins
God Bless You !!! I’ve spent the last 15 years of my life caring for Senior Citizens and People with Memory Issues and Society doesn’t give a
DAMN! I’m an Administrator of an Assisted Living Community of 150 People and all day all I hear are complaints! No Complements! Just Fucking Complaints! Food is to Saltly !, Why can’t I have 6 pieces of bacon at breakfast? My Kids are stealing from me! The staff didn’t knock on my door before entering! A caregiver stole my pull up! Why can’t we go to Walmart during the Corona Virus? Why did you sit her with me at my dinner table? Please tell my mother Happy Birthday ! on her 100 Birthday I can’t talk to her I’m busy please tell her I love her! I’m going to call State because you served Peanut butter cookies instead of Oatmeal cookies !!!!
Please note I have spent my last 15 years helping Senior Citizens, I’m Advocate for them! I go to court for them! I shop for them when their family abandoning them! I spend my own $$$$ Money Clothing them even buying Medication for them! AND MOST IMPORTANT WHEN I FIND OUT THAT they’re ACTIVELY PASSING I SIT IN THEIR ROOM UNTIL THE END COMFORTING! STROKING THEIR HAIR, GIVING THEM APPLE SAUCE!, SINGING TO THEM! MESSAGING THEIR HANDS! AND WHAT TO I GET IN THE END NOTHING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!NO THANK YOU FOR THE FAMILY ONLY THIS ” HEY CAN WE DUMP MOM’S OR DAD FURNITURE HERE!
Thank you – so grateful that I am not alone
Thank you so much, what a perfectly timed find to read. I’m so angry..I’ve opened up and said things but I don’t regret any of it. Now I’m left to pick up the peices and move forward.
Thank you so much. My brother just flew back home.
He gives me a break twice a year. I feel like I have just been plunged back into the abyss. What a relief to know I am not alone. Thank you for some help and direction. Despite the rage I love her dearly. I so don’t want to fail at this. There are times when it seems as if it would be easier to “go”first. This is the first article that addresses the real misery the anger causes everyone involved. If you are a caregiver, that had to stumble through your own childhood/adolescence, while no one could muster any energy or interest, then this is finally, a helpful read. Bless you writer.
Very poignant. It hit all the feels. So much internal rage, resentment, and the weight that I will endlessly be trapped in this reality of obligation to support her over my own needs, wants and desires of living my own life.
That was our point Kate. Everyone is feeling the same thing but everyone is too ashamed to discuss it. Thanks for the comment.
I could have written this, minus the help from siblings as my only one lives abroad so conveniently can’t do anything (including being unable to even phone our mother for a chat). I care for my mother 8 hours a day>Every single day. To the detriment of my own teenage daughter. And as my mother gets more dependent, forgetful, negative and demanding, my rage just grows and grows. There is tony bit of consolation to know that I am not alone in dealing with such feelings.
I don’t like my parents but I love them for giving me a stable peaceful home. Too peaceful and too stable, at the cost of ones sanity. They overprotected us and then threw us out into a world so different from what we grew up in, to the point we now can’t function normally. I can’t stand my mom, she has totally negative vibes and is a religious nutcase. My parents raised failures , and I’m one of them. Not looking forward to taking care of them in their now old age.
Omg-Ithought it was just me!! I thought I was an awful person. I don’t like my Mum,she can be very demanding,self centred and cruel . I have three siblings but she lives nearest me and I dread needing to care for her. The others won’t. I constantly feel like a fourteen year old rushing to do her bidding. But I feel so very guilty . I’m 52 and still daren’t tell her I have a tattoo!!
This article expresses so much honesty about the obligation to care for an uncaring parent. It really resonated because that white-hot anger bubbles just beneath the surface every hour of every day.
I’m an only child caregiver to my single mother. She lives with my family because she never made any financial or long term plan for herself. I moved years earlier across the country so I could become whole and put distance between us. She has no real friends and she doesn’t care to make any. She is passive-aggressive, incredibly tactless and she tried to live her existence through me. I finally had my own family and I had counseling for years to become who I wanted to be. She was diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer, almost died several times, only to bounce right back. However, I had to fly home to care for her and leave my family several times because there isn’t anyone else.
I finally made the single biggest mistake that I regret every day of my life in bringing her to live with us. It is miserable. She is functional enough to retain some independence but she has no friends. She sits all day in her room and complains about literally everything any of us do. She points out everything, every tiny thing that we do wrong and is never, ever wrong. I had to stop having my craft group friends over because she would make fun of them or say horribly offensive things to them. My teenage sons have just ignored her because she isn’t kind to them. My husband doesn’t tolerate any of her bs. And I’m left feeling angry at myself for bringing her here. Angry because she can’t afford her own place. Angry because there isn’t another option. It’s like being backed into a corner.
To say that I hate your mother or feel resentful and angry usually makes me look heartless and cruel. Her church “friends” call her but they don’t want to spend time with her. But she outlived her prognosis and she continues to get chemo even though eventually she will be out of options. But that day never seems to arrive, even though I selfishly wish for it and then feel horror at my very ugly feelings.
Whoever this author is, I am grateful for her honest account and I wish I could have a cup of coffee and hear more. Thank you for choosing to post this.
My mom has dementia. I’m exhausted and my brothers (who live in distant cities) don’t get it at all. I am just done. I am so much better at expression, but today, as stated, I am done. I’m just becoming a horrible person and I feel like I don’t care. When the day comes, I don’t even want to deal with the funeral or even go. I just don’t care. Oh, and let’s just heap COVID on top of all this bullshit, shall we? Thank you for this post. It helps me realize that I am not alone. SIGH….
These comments are a lifesaver for me tonight! It’s so refreshing to hear I’m not alone! I go to support groups because my mother has dementia and I sit there as everyone is sad and upset about there parents decline.,as I am saying to myself I wish she didn’t remember me!!!! She had turned into someone I can’t stand. Worse she thinks nothings wrong with her. She’s embarrassing ,rude ,unkept , demanding…it’s awful! I never had any children by choice now I have a 82 year old one. Oh and she lives in a memory care facility which is comforting she can’t burn down her home but has a phone and pushed one bottom to call me with demands…..with therapy I know now alot of my boiling anger comes from the past….she wasn’t a good mother never taking care of my sister or me and now I’m expected or stuck taking care of her! May add because she has outlived her past 5 husbands,! God I feel better bitching!
Anon you’re doing a terrific job (two half days a week!). I don’t think most people realise what’s in store for them. They think that when the kids are off their hands they can enjoy retirement little realising that they could have an elderly parent wanting, if not demanding, to be the centrepiece of their lives. Even if it’s a cherished parent, they can be a huge imposition. We are living too long.
I came across this site after googling “ resenting having to take care of my mean Mother”. I feel like I have had to take care of her my entire life. When I was younger, she was depressed all the time and was so wrapped up in herself, she hardly noticed she had three kids.
Now that she is 84 and I’m 56, I’m still trying so hard to make her happy. Intellectually, I know I am wasting time, money and energy, but I still find myself trying to cook for her exactly like she thinks I should cook, dropping everything and running to the pharmacy because she MUST have her medication tonight, but the store closes in 15 minutes. I’m never told in advance about a doctor’s appointment so I can make plans to be off work, no one I find who can sit with her or run errands or clean for her is good enough. She always runs them off or refuses to answer the phone or door for them. I know it is just manipulation so that I will be the one who does everything for her because I do everything like she likes it.
Don’t even get me started on my brother who visits her 3-4 times a year but lives only 20 minutes away and has cut her grass ONE time in the FOUR years she has lived in the house next to me. I have a sister who tries to help but she has enough problems of her own and lives an hour away- but my Mom stays mad at her all the time for some stupid nitpicking reason, which leaves me alone to look after her and run myself in the ground for her. My Mom has has zero friends. No social support. Won’t speak to her other sisters – because of some silly reason or other that happened 20 years ago. Just me. I’m her entire life support and she is perfectly happy with it being that way.
I made a personal choice to not have children of my own, but here I am with an 84 year old child who insists on telling me what to do! She got mad at me the other day because I suggested she see another doctor because every doctor she sees is “the devil” and hung up on me when I tried to call her to tell her that her groceries would be delivered. (The one thing I stopped doing for her was grocery shopping because I was constantly panicking in the stores if they didn’t have EXACTLY what she wanted me to buy because I knew I would get hell for not buying the right thing- even though I was freaking paying for it!) now I have her groceries delivered but still hear constant complaints about the people who buy and deliver the groceries for her.
I could go on and on. Really just need to vent. I’m sure tomorrow, I will cook for her and bring her food, take out her garbage, run her errands, etc. and I will just bite my tongue while she complains and gripes about everything in her tiny little sell centered world. And I will figure out how to calm myself down from the anger and anxiety until next time.
I can’t imagine what it is like to get old and have to depend on other. I’m sure it is very hard, but as God is my witness, I will NOT be a selfish, mean and manipulative old person to those who come around me. Life is too short to bring such misery to others!
We’re glad this piece hit a nerve. Many women are asked to do this impossible task. Thank you for your comment. And hang in there.
I was so glad to find this article! I am at the end of my rope with being the sole caregiver of my 90 year old mother. I have caregiver burnout and compassion fatigue from the overwhelming litany of ailments. Her health has declined over the last 5-6 years and I am it! I live with her, which means there is no relief until I leave for my full time job on the days I work. My saving grace was Monday mornings – until COVID – then my weekends turned into 2 1/2 months. I am so resentful as I can’t go to visit my sons, who both live away. It’s just SO consuming. When I work, I have a lady come in to take care of her, because things are really slipping and she should not be alone. She is so stubborn and continues to do things that her doctor and I advise her not to do. Falls on deaf ears. Just so very emotionally frustrating and draining. So good to hear that my feelings are felt by others who are in the same position. Thank you for letting me vent.
Becky: you are not alone! Many of us are left to deal with this. You mention Mondays might be free. You might want to check out our free Positive Mornings coaching calls which go on Mondays 9-10 Am EST. Really gets you set for the week and helps you meet a group of intelligent people dealing with similar issues. You can find sign up here: https://www.coveyclub.com/positive-morning-coaching-sessions/
Well that was refreshing-laughing and feel better already
A non in Michigan
Thanks to all for their stories. Like many here, I hate being around my 82 year old mom. I’m the only surviving offspring. She was an awful mother who was neglectful, emotionally and, at times, physically abusive. She drank too much and slept around too much. Now that she’s old and alone, I am her only interest. Sorry that I can’t be one of those incredible people, who despite their shitty upbringing, are doting, loving children. Just mostly bad memories. I took her out yesterday for a “fun” afternoon and she cried 5 times (lack of money, being lonely, “nothing to do but bug me”, she can’t see my kids who live out of state, 81 & made too many bad choices in life – 3 failed marriages). OMG! Misery. I also feel guilty because I envy my friends and family whose mothers are already dead. F. Really? I’m in my 60s and feel like she could outlive me. F.
Thank you. I was praying as just arrived to be with my mother and have such feelings of hatred. What can I do God – please help. My body is tense and so unhealthy. This article/blog lovingly appeared. what stood out “you are angry because you realize she will never care for you. ” Wow – ahhhhhh this it spot on. I have been pt staying with a negative, ugly hearted, selfishish woman for last month – never has changed. The first day of arrival is always hard – it’s a rough landing. The 2nd day is usually good – playing 32 rounds of dominoes a few times and making dinner. She is so hungry for love. The third day is a mix of good and cannot wait to leave – you made it! If tmrow is not a good day I will put in my resignation and state my boundaries. My brothers can decide whether we try to find another pt caregiver (she has one) – she told one to leave- or put her in a memory care against her desire. It’s tough season but a time many families face Sistahs thank you all for sharing. I feel more settled. Amen
Your article was “spot on”. I struggled through my childhood/adolescence with a verbally/emotionally abusive father and a controlling, self-absorbed mother, who is now 83 and needs help, as she has falls and is using a walker. We are going to sell our home and move her in with us, but often I question if it will be emotionally healthy for her to live with us. At times, like tonight, I find myself getting so angry with her and I feel like I am a terrible person. Then I realized after reading your article that it is an anger that is more than that moment we are in; it’s so much more. I wonder sometimes how long this will go on, my caring for her and I know it is only for a season, but I resent the time that I am missing with my husband and boys. So many ways that she hurt me keep coming up in my mind and now I think I understand why. When my boys were born she wanted us to move close to her so she could help us with our kids. We moved in her neighborhood and after we did she told me-“I think when people have children it’s their problem and not anyone else’s.” She was retired and didn’t help me with my kids at all. I could go on with more hurts, but I don’t want to write a novel. It’s just hard being a caregiver to your Mom, and thank you for sharing your experience with us. It really helped me know I am not the only one who feels this way.
Finally someone whos going through the same. My mother left my father 6 years ago, had no money or job of her own, once they sold the house there was nothing left as my father had remortgaged their house so many times and left with what money there was. So we moved into a rental together, I was off to getting married abroad so had left my job etc and was waiting for the visa to be processed, but the now ex fiance called it off days before the wedding – no explanation given.
So there I was back in the UK living in the rental with my mother. After a year of depression, I started my business from home and through so much hard work am now doing very well. However I pay for everything. My mother gets a pension, probably not a lot but I still pay for everything. Two years ago my 74 year old mother was very ill and diagnosed with a blood disorder, so there are many days where she’s exhausted. But this doesn’t stop her being opinionated, moaning about the state of the country and swearing to herself about virtually everything. I have noticed how she is less and less bothered about everything, I m having to pick up the slack more than ever. When she cooks it’s a disaster, she has no patience for anything. I ve watched her turning into a relatively useless lump, that expects me to carry one supporting her.
I finally got onto the property ladder and of course my mother moved with me. There was never a moment where she ever considered that this would not be the case. ( The rest of my family never questioned this either)
Of course my younger brothers dont do a thing, one lives abroad with his partner and the other down south with his partner. None of them offer to assist financially or otherwise. I guess they assume me being the only daughter that I should automatically assume the role of caregiver. I also feel they resent her for leaving it so late to leave my father, knowing she would not have any property or savings of her own.
After all my mother regularly cared for her parents while her brother lived thousands of miles away and never bothered.
She expects that I care for her and often remarks how my brothers should do the same and they are a disgrace for not doing so..but are they? Why is this an expectancy? Especially for women.
I have a 23 years son of my own living away and working hard. I never want to burden him the way my mother has me. I have a private pension in place, life insurance and expect to be mortgage free within 3 years time. If I get sick, I will go into a care home- no arguments!
As for the feelings – oh yes very frustrated, seething ( Seething Cow as my mother once muttered about me) , angry feeling like I cant breath, have five minutes to myself.
No hope of meeting or being with anyone – who would date a 40+ women living with her mother – and even if things progressed – there would be the whole guilt trip about selling my house and leaving my mother to care for herself.
I feel like this is my life- by the time my mother passes on, I will be too old myself to start a relationship or live my life beyond what it is.
Clara: thank you for your note. It is proven research that daughters end up caring for their family more than sons. But have heart: we believe that you are never too old to get the life you deserve to have. Believe and hang tough.
Hallelujah!!! This is spot on.
I’m carer for my 86 year old mother who is dying of multiple myeloma. She can’t walk, wears diapers, is fairly away with fairies due to the morphine she is taking for he pain. I am an only child and she lives with myself and my husband. My husband has just left for a week visiting our children in the UK – I should have been going with him but I couldn’t because I need to look after my mother. I’m having a little cry at the injustice of it.
We had a fairly toxic relationship and I’ve had a fair degree of therapy to try and undo the damage of my childhood. She has always been self absorbed, narcissistic and dependent. I really started looking after her 6 years ago when my father died – throughout her life, she did nothing for herself, couldn’t drive, use a mobile phone or a bank card. At that point it was just taking her shopping, and keeping an eye on her. Then 2.5 years ago she was diagnosed so we moved her in with us while she had chemo and I have cooked cleaned and shopped for her ever since. She was quite happy to let me literally do everything for her until the nurse pointed out that a lot of it she should be doing herself (showering for example).
She’s since had a relapse and she currently has the nurse in twice a day to shower her and to put her to bed at night, I am home with her because I am a teacher and it’s school holidays. She calls me every 10 minutes for nothing in particular. Sometimes I’ll rush in from the garden to see what the problem is and she’ll just say that she wanted to say hello. I have some private online lessons but I’ve had to stop them because I can’t have the peace and quiet I need to do them. I also have a summer holiday rental business plus a very big garden to take care of. I am caring for her exceptionally well – I get her up, take her to the toilet, wipe her backside, administer her drugs, cook for her, clean for her, wash and iron her clothes, sit with her at night when she can’t sleep. I’ve managed to distance myself emotionally, it’s hard to show love and affection that I don’t feel. I’m very kind to her but today I’ve lost my patience and told her that she can’t keep calling me for no reason and that I have things I need to do. Now I feel guilty and angry and sad and a whole host of things I can’t describe.
Thanks for this, I couldn’t have read it at a better time.
This is me so thankyou so much for writing it. I hate myself at times as have wished my mother dead and then feel like a wicked person, but she gets to me so much at times. I have 3 siblings but none of them have contact with her so its down to me. I was sobbing my heart out reading your story as I can identify with you so much.
Just came across this and so glad I did! I have been angry and resentful over the time it takes to care for my aging mother. I especially identified with “if it’s hysterical, it’s historical.” Much of what I am doing now I did when I was young. I hated it then and I hate it now. I’ve heard the remarks “you’re so lucky to have your mother” or “what I wouldn’t give to have another conversation with my mother.” These remarks used to make me feel guilty. No more. Words coming from folks who have free time to do as they please.
When I was “growing up” it was all about what she needed to make her life more comfortable, while my needs were ignored and never taken into consideration. I was afraid to ask for anything. In high school I had to clean the house daily, prepare dinner, and look after my brothers, and have her bath water ready when she arrived home from work one day per week since she had a standing hair appointment. She thought I was her housekeeping and cooking service. I could never play after school sports. My dad had left us, and was equally unavailable and useless. I feel bad for that young girl, and I wish I could talk to her and tell her that her life and needs and wants mattered. It was the adults’ job to figure that mess out. They failed and it was not my fault.
I could not finish college as there was always some problem at home. I did my best. I started working, got married and had my own family. I vowed to not do this with my own kids and I didn’t. She always characterized the time I spent with them as “bending over backwards” or “spoiling” them when in reality it’s what parents do to care for their children. I’m better at setting boundaries, but Covid presents the obvious issues for the foreseeable future. I’ll reassess once the pandemic has passed. For now I will give her what she did not give me, and what she did not give her own parents when they needed it.
She was recently hospitalized for a few days. I still work full time and luckily can work remotely. Since she came home there are multiple nurse appointments, aide, OT, PT, MD, CT scan, x-ray, and now an upcoming mental health appointment. My brother and SIL are some help but they were more than happy to push her off on me after having her for a few days. They want to be sure I am doing my fair share! And there is always something that is needed; today’s list – another shower bar, a new shower stool, a different towel bar, and the topper: lightweight towels (her old towels are too heavy).
The health aide who came today told my mom – oh your daughter is great! Don’t you wish you had more daughters? Her response: I do – she needs the help. So you see, entitlement and sexism is alive and well. It’s okay to inconvenience and impose on daughters. Oh – and my brother is the one who is trusted with financial matters, not me.
Rant over. I had to write. I identify. I felt guilty and not guilty and angry and resentful for hating care-giving and on some days hating her.
My mother now lives in our basement. She has chronic back pain, stomach issues, a brain tumour (not malignant) and suffers from depression and is probably bi-polar. She is passive-aggressive in her requests/demands and we do everything we can to make her comfortable. Yet, nothing is good enough. It’s too hot, it’s too cold, it’s too dusty, it’s too damp, the taps, the lights… etc. She has led a life over the past 20+ years of complaining about her health, telling everything about the meds she takes…it becomes a grating, annoying narrative. Her marriage of 30 years is over and she had very little love and support during that time. I am an only child so there is no one else who would care for her, save my wonderful husband. And I find myself feeling resentful… because she spiraled into using Percocet, didn’t care for her body and soul, didn’t exercise, didn’t eat properly…and now all she does is sit in front of her computer all day. Her teeth are all rotten and she will only agree to a process of a year of extractions before she will get dentures. A YEAR, of one extraction per month basically, because she is afraid of the recovery should she have several teeth out at once.
HOWEVER… I am not changing diapers, I don’t have to lift her in and out of bed, she has her own private space and mostly manages her own appointments, etc. I help… by buying groceries and taking her to the odd appointment. And she has a safe and nice place to live (no cockroaches like the apartment she had found for herself last year, OMG!)
She used to be a vibrant, talented, and tenacious woman. It is very hard to realize that she is no longer that person, but instead, has withdrawn into her own little world.
So…the feelings of resentment are hard to deal with. It’s my Mom for God’s sakes! She raised me, partly made me the woman I am today…and yet… I am so mad at her….because she doesn’t have a life any more. I visit her downstairs about 3 or 4 times a day but have gotten to the point that I can only stay for a maximum of 10 minutes, because I cannot listen to the complaints for much longer than that.
Here’s the rub – once again, I find myself considering ‘therapy’, to learn how to deal and cope with all of this. I sought therapy when my son was abusive to me, I sought therapy when my ex husband was abusive to me, and now this? The people causing me the anguish are never the ones who seek therapy.
But I cannot bring myself to utter the words “you are a hypochondriac” to her. (I know that some of her ailments are obviously very real.) I am afraid to be honest because I don’t want to hurt her.
I am angry, but I am sad too. I find myself wondering what the next few years will bring.
Born in to generational “family”of mental illness & domestic violence always distorts, dominates and impacts ongoing. Mother largely by choice/skewed perception excuses, ignores, permits/perpetrates abuse & witnesses/endures without action horrific daily assaults perpetuated by husband largely upon her middle aging offspring. I don’t like or admire my mother and try very hard to continue to care and impart kindness. My mother has always held disdain for me expressing that she wished I was never born. In the next breathe she says with what appears unattainable dismay how “exceptionally kind, compassionate & intuitive” I am with her & everyone.
As a sensitive, caring and diligent person I have been in the workforce 28yrs, 2 degrees, husband who died when I was 38, no children and spent last 15yrs in/out hospital having some 9 ortho operations. Unforseen circumstance has me residing for a roof over my head with parents. Nothing is mine & I must do everything. This exposes me to direct demands of increasing caregiving duties whereby I cannot even scratch my own head. Well the day has come where the matriarch till recent had me providing to every need & tasks of such personal nature that I’d never imagined would be forceably expected. Her ailing/incapable 87yr husband tho primary carer refuses to complete such tasks to support his wife. He looses his temper having her a vulnerable quivering mess. Times he’ll throw his walking stick at her bashing her leg to cause large hole/bleeding – warfrin. Too many times I’ve been the mother/protector & rescued her. Slap COVID-19, sibling abuse/rivalry/bullying & 6mths ongoing of nuisance neighbour barking dog German Shepherd at 3-6hrs/day non-stop I am ready to drop dead.
I’ve literally washed daily chronic diarrhoea post longterm antibiotics/hospital for mother. Destroyed myself physically on top of bi-lateral total knee replacements & heavily plate braced foot/ankle by physical manoeuvres beyond. Picked up the bodies multiple times of both parents from major falls. Got down on my false knees to perform CPR on mum till emergency ambulance arrived. Hijacked by her commanding home visiting doctor recently to bellow at me “your mother says she has depression & inappetance due to the tension between you & your father.” Commanding me to be in the same room as her in my home & me unmasked!!! CV19?? WTF I leave room with the doctor shouting “COME BACK HERE… it MIGHT NOT BE TRUE.” WTF. The doctor said mother’s recent xray show no fractures/breaks from recent fall.
Fast forward 3 Aug my sister & I aid 8 paramedics to transport my mother to hospital ER at midnight & wait further 4hrs 4am b4 on-duty doctor in charge reports & admits her. We cannot visit CV19 precautions. Mother has fractured coxic from recent fall, ongoing KRF, RA, hiatus hernia – minor operative treatment as she’s not up to major op ever. Vomiting, inappetance, immobile/bed ridden, pneumonia, nausea, high BP pain etc. She’s still in hospital. Blame it on me though mother. I ring her & yet I don’t want to speak to her as she hangs up. I struggle to hear her voice & she gets turse. We just have nothing to say. I just don’t want to be entangled & drowning. I want to see life & in peace b4 I die.
I do have all of the anger and resentment that the other comments outline. The fact that there is no definitive end in site is devastating to deal with. The lack of support from siblings is disrespectful and unkind. I doubt I will speak to my brother or sister again after my mother dies. Your life is not your own when a parent lives with you. The relationship with your partner is changed beyond repair. I have been very clear with my mother that I need her to go away for a couple of months to stay with my sister because I need a break after the last 7 years. It doesn’t matter whether I tell her I am falling apart and need time alone with my husband, she just says she can’t do that. It’s all about her.
She doesn’t have enough money to pay the exorbitant cost of a retirement home, but her dementia that was diagnosed as mid level two years ago is starting to now deteriorate more rapidly. She is eligible for long term care but of course, I would have to force her into that as she and my siblings don’t see that she’s a problem. I say I will never ask my daughter to do this for me and want to ensure plans are in place should I receive a diagnosis of dementia.
The biggest problem right now is that people are not as concerned about their mental health as much as their physical health. There has to be more emphasis on people planning for their senior years both financially and medically. It is not your children’s responsibility to pick up the pieces from a parent’s complete avoidance of future planning. There should be organizations and information in place to guide people as to how to get plans in place. This awareness should be starting at least when a person is in their fifties…probably much sooner.
Those of us who have let parents into our home are pretty well stuck as there aren’t better structures in place. I know there are seniors programs and caregivers that can come to the home, but honestly, if you can even get your parent to participate, it’s more work for the caregiver to organize. It’s exhausting! We all have to face the facts about aging and take individual responsibility for our futures.
With you in solidarity…just want to point out though that just because she never worked for a living doesn’t necessarily mean this is why she is the way she is last minute. Let’s keep the working mom spirit separate here…not all who stay home are this absorbed and selfish.
I have looked after my mother all my life and today I spent too long having an afternoon with a friend. She asked me to help With some tasks which I did and I said I would go back later which I did. But she was so angry as I had spent ‘too long’ with my friend and I am guessing because I didn’t call her, felt even more angry. My heart sank. I am 60 + which makes it even worse…!
Thank you so much for this. I can’t express how much these words resonate with me. Time to try and let go of unfulfilled expectations….
I came upon this post after doing a random Google search–and I’m glad I found it.
Bless you for your honesty, warts and all. I too am dealing with a parent that does some things I just don’t like.
My mother is hands down, unequivocally and definitively the most fiscally irresponsible person I have ever met in all my days. And I say that as someone who worked with a woman that took to using Muppet-like voices to talk to bill collectors that called to get her overdue dough. Yes: imagine hearing the person in the next cube twittering over the phone, “Carol? No, no Carol works here, please stop calling” in their best Kermit the Frog voice. My mother is worse.
She is 73 years old and her credit is in the negatives. She has worked hard all her life (to include retiring not once, not twice, but thrice) and also has Social Security coming in. She lives in a gated retirement community that is subsidized, so her income covers her rent and expenses 4 times over…but she is horrid. With. MONEY. Think having $1500 in the bank and needing $1000 of it to cover bills, but spending $1100. That means that yup–I will call my daughter to ask for the other $600 I am now short and using all manner of manipulation tactics to get it. I am so hurt that she feels my money is “disposable”.
Now, I know what some of you are thinking. You’re thinking, “Well gee–just say “no”.” Well, I’m not Nancy Reagan and that only works on ’80’s era drug mitigation ads from TV. It’s not that easy–especially with a master manipulator that knows every button to press and string to pull to get her way. This includes mentions of “only having one mother in your lifetime” to threats of being out on the streets. My father passed when I was in my early 30’s, so I attribute a lot of giving in to the lamentations of the “She’s all I have left” sentiment.
My mother is a Boomer that grew up under the “gotta be tough as nails” child-rearing of the ’50’s. Elders were to be respected (even if they were full of crap). Honor thy Mother and Father (even when they don’t act in a manner worthy of honor). And by all means–do as I say, not as I do. When I mentioned the business I planned to start 7 years ago, she put up a fuss. I am a Business major and knew I’d be successful, so it didn’t hit me until Round 5 of her chiding me over the phone for “risking it all”: it wasn’t me, or the business. It was the threat that starting it would make me financially unstable. That, in turn, would cut into her honeypot and make life inconvenient for her. Can’t have that.
Frankly, I actually ascribe to honoring thy Mother and Father. The older I get though, I realize that honoring sometimes means saying “No”. The odds of a woman in her ’70’s suddenly “seeing the light” about, y’know, the responsibility to pay the bills you create is slim to none. But I will still love her. That love will just mean that no, you can’t have $300 of my hard earned dough to play the slots at Atlantic City this weekend–but you’re welcome to find a way to do it on your dime.
Thanks for sharing.
I’m glad we can offer some help. Everyone is going through this issue. Please know you are not alone
I drive 500 miles every 4-5 weeks from my home in Colorado to my childhood home in Oklahoma. I spend 2 weeks caring for my mom and give her caregivers time off. I have been doing this for 3 years. The anger, resentment and resulting guilt and shame had me googling why I hated taking care of my mom. What I saw as strength and courage in my mom when I was young has morphed into a total control freak. My anger does come from sadness. I am sad that my mom has turned into a needy child which I never wanted. I understand her fear as it is mine, also of dependence and decay. Her finances are drained and me and my sisters(3) will need to start ponying up. She needs more care than she can afford and we are all able to help but not always willing. She didn’t save a lot of money and this also breeds resentment. The article is spot on and appreciated. Thanks
These are tough times–especially for responsible daughters. Know you will get through this. And that you are not alone Tami
You are heard and your issues are real Tami. I am glad we are able to offer you a bit of supportive perspective.
I needed this article and your comments today. I have been trying so hard to deal with these feelings…meditation, therapy, support groups, medication, writing, etc. Maybe I am a slow learner, I don’t now. For today, while I empathize with all you are going through, I don’t feel alone.
My mother is a horder on top of having dementia and I have taken care of my parents and helped them out, lived with them on and off and moved in with mom when dad passed away. I have a sister who lives 3 miles a way and has only been to the house 2x in 25 yrs.
I am the one here, doing everything. And watching mom slowly go down hill. I feel lime i don’t even have a life. My mom has never been a house cleaner & we live different. She is non complaint with me about everything. I have my own health issues and i literally feel like I’m losing my mind.
Steph: Many women are in the same boat as you are. That’s why we had our writer do this very honest story. Can you please find a support group near you or online that you can share your issues with? Honestly, accepting help is part of getting through this. You should not have to carry this by yourself.
Thanks for this. All situations are different but the similarities are there. I feel like I am dragging two large boulders around all the time (Mom and Dad). I never wanted this role and am angry and resentful. Also depressed and hopeless and sometime hateful.
My Mom has been self-centered her whole life, loving us kids a lot but much more concerned for herself and her needs. She wanted to be close friends and use me as a support starting when I was about 10. When she tries to draw close, I want to run. Now her friends are dead and she is a mass of complaints, resentments and loneliness. Every conversation throws me into a tailspin. One of my brothers handles it better, one even worse.
My father was a benign guy, very passive, and in that passivity, also not there for us kids. Loving, yes, but not supportive. He now needs a full-time caregiver and total management of everything and thank goodness for one of my brothers who shares it and for some cash that makes the full-time caregiver possible for now.
I wish both my parents would lie down one night soon and die peacefully. My father (92) knows his life is at it’s end and he may be ready, but each emergency intervention takes a toll on him and on the rest of us. My mother (86) is a major annoyance. She is more capable than my father but is slipping (they are divorced and have been since I was small). My father’s complaints have faded. But my mother’s complaints are loud.
Thanks for listening. Some of the suggestions are good!
Everything you have said I am experiencing, I will have such guilt when my mother leaves this earth… but while she is here she makes me so angry.. she is so needy and the more help she has the more she wants. She is attention seeking and I’m at my wits end know what steps I can take. To read that someone feels the same and to see others are going through similar situations makes me feel that my feelings and emotions are not that alien. Thank you so much ❤️
Thank you, Thank you, Thank you- my biggest fear is that I will turn into (Or perhaps I already have ) unappreciative, complaining, anger inducing mother. I’m sorry but oh so grateful to know I’m not alone in my feelings towards my mother. She is handicapped (can’t walk) so requires 24/7 help which we have someone we can barely afford and is getting beaten down by my moms constant Demands (My mom doesn’t ask- she demands as “her parents did to their children – they were told what to do not asked politely. Can’t I just have a nice mom who is kind and pleasant to people- she accuses everyone of subterfuge. I was about to post another page of complaints about my mom (that answers the above question) when all I meant to say was thank you for your post and well needed companionship.
My mother lives with me and my husband. We are in our 70s. She is in her 90s. She treats us like servants. If I’d known how long she’d live I’d never have taken her in. Will I be 80 before I’m free of her silliness, her demands and her total lack of understanding. She never, ever thinks what it’s like for us. Together my husband and I created a lovely home from a wreck and we both now hate it. She has had her life and we should have what’s left of ours. I have told my children I will never do this to them and I mean it. I am so resentful. I should have had an inheritance by now and will probably get nothing. Not that I even care any more.
Not one person has commented on those many mums/parents that are the total opposite of what you are all describing. I have one daughter who wanted for nothing when growing up and she fully admits it, and is proud tof tell all about her great loving upbringing when her only worry was to be doing what she should be for her age.
She is now in early forties and has her own 5 kids, my 1st born granddaughter is 30wks pregnant with a baby boy..needless to say that I absolutely doted on these children.. I was never without them, they were my life. I worked hard so they also could ask nanna for anything and was there for them no matter what! …However, my health was taking its toll, and I got triple negative breast cancer at age 42 and have battled it for 19yrs..due to aggressive treatments I’ve got heart and lung disease, arterial disease, top to toe arthritis and the list goes on and on.. I now have multiple myeloma and have suffered greatly for the past 6yrs as it’s a 1% rare type.. Now here’s the good bit.. I downsized to a smaller house, bigger garden as my mobility got worse in 2015..this was just after I had spent my 1st Christmas alone. The kids popped in for 5 mins to pick up gifts and borrow some veg and gravy maker, my poor health wasn’t their fault, if I couldn’t get ready and go for dinner that was my problem. That was just the beginning, I have since been left “to bat on with it”they (and rightly so) have their own lives to live and they’re not being put out of they’re way for anyone! Not even nanna who gave her life up for them.. except when they want money, I am graced with a request by text and them picking it up was classed as a visit! How lucky I am you must be thinking, but don’t be to envious. I have been a sociable, love life kind of person all my days. I have been dumped and left on my own now almost all of the last 6yrs.. they live 10 mins walk from here and they don’t even ask if I need a pint of milk bringing over while they’re out shopping.. I dread each day I wake up! I sit alone 24hrs a day 7 days a week 365 days a year! I only get out to appointments and it takes me almost a week to get ready. I don’t see my parents or sisters as I don’t dare let them see how I look or how bad my home looks.. I have lied to them every which way so they don’t see the way I’m being treated by my daughter and her family..each and every chence I get, when I can look better (not often) I visit my mum and dad and meet the girls there, while they suspiciously look at me but are to polite to ask what I am hiding from them, they would never dream that Im going through this nightmare.. I sob uncontrollably , making for an embaressing drive home with my uber cab driver every time I have to leave my lovely mum who misses me like hell, and who pretends to understand, but she doesn’t…One of my sisters has recently found out a bit of it all but I have begged her to say nothing and sworn her to secrecy. She recognised some of my jewellery that someone had bought cheaply and came to see me so fast , she must have met herself on the way back, but that’s another story..
I’m on treatment now with a kinder chemo but my bones are on their last legs (being plasma cell bone marrow cancer) and other organs are involved now. You must be wondering why they would do this to a good mum and grandma?.. one word ” money”!! They want it now and if I don’t give it they’re going to take it!!
So this artitle and comments broke my heart, it’s me in reverse!
Please don’t hate your mum’s, they’re likely terrified that they will become me?! After all, if they never gave anything, they DID at least give you life.. :)xxx
I had to do a double take because it was as if I wrote the article. And then all the comments, wow, so many people feel the exact same way I do. My friends tell me I’m so lucky I still have my mom. Most of my friends lost their moms fairly young, in their 50’s and 60′. My mom is 87, physically very healthy but has dementia. My sis and I take turns taking care of her in our homes but I can’t stand it anymore. I want my house back. I want my privacy with my husband back. I want to go out and enjoy my life while I still can. I’m 52.
Everything about her bothers me. She stares at us when we eat. She asks the same questions 25 times a day. She farts. She hangs her panties on the window for all to see. She stares at my neighbors through the window, so many other annoyances. I just don’t enjoy her company one bit. I don’t enjoy talking to her.
She never drank, smoked, and always ate healthy so her body is healthy which means she has a lot more years left and guess who’s stuck with her for a lot more years? What good is it to be healthy and live a long life if you get dementia and can’t take care of yourself? Everyone says life is short but people are living really long lives nowadays and daughters are usuallt the ones getting stuck with their moms and resenting every second of it. I’m lucky my sis helps a lot but I’m ready to place mom in a nursing home.
I already told my son I don’t want him taking care of me if I make it to 87. I told him to go enjoy his life and be adventurous and have fun. I’ll check myself into a nursing home and play bingo and square dance 🙂
You do have the power to say no and you don’t have to feel guilty. You are not responsible for your mother. I’m convinced most women have children just so they have someone to take care of them one day so if that is what she thought she was getting out of the deal, that’s on her. You, as an embryo, never agreed to it. Say no. Block her calls. Block her messages. Block threats of suicide and homelessness and live your own life no matter what happens to her. If you decide to help her and feel angry for it, that is on you.
Thank you to the person who wrote this.
Beyond just offering perspective (my relationship with my parents is nowhere near the vicinity of yours), it helped me to revisit my anger and frustration with a calmer analysis.
My parents were attentive in my raising, though both working so very busy. So much so that under their guidance I was brought up to be very self reliant and independent. They were supportive of me and my siblings, even well into adulthood, to the point of having very little for themselves when they retired. I cant stress how selfless tgey have been.
And now that they are in their twilight, I knew it was my turn to give back, be the good son. Because I love them so much, and they’ve never asked for anything. In fact I insisted. I built a suite for them on our home, set them up, had them involved in the decisions- etc. And for about 5 years everything was great.
But once our children left the nest it started to change. Slowly at first. But building over time- a horrid, secret resentment. And its grown so That now and then it spews out as audible sighs or short response over trivial interactions. They talk just to fill the silence, or do things that make more work for me than I or my wife already have. But I know this- It isn’t them- its all me.
I believe the bulk of my anger stems from their inability to be self reliant, and the frustration that they raised me to be so why cant they walk their own walk? And I know Im being petty and unreasonable. Which only compounds the anger further. I feel like such a shit sometimes, and it keeps me awake at night. Because even though I know this isn’t the real me, Im afraid that this is the new me. And that makes me think I am a horrible son.
Anyhow, thank you for sharing. Reading the above doesn’t sound like it, but it really helped.
This last post is unfortunately how I feel. I would just like to walk away from the pain that is my life. By life I mean my early years. It is very hard to care for someone who caused you so much pain. The one person that was supposed to be there for you left you to fend for yourself because she couldn’t even take care of herself. So self absorbed that she couldn’t even care for her 3 children myself being the youngest. I was almost hit by a semi truck at the age of three because my mother wasn’t watching me and I got out of the house and on the road. Really?!!!! What mother lets their 3 year old out of there sight for a second?!!! She was so self absorbed that she didn’t even know that I wasn’t in her sight. She was so consumed with my cheating father that she could think of nothing else but her own pain. I’m sorry but if I can put my crap aside and give my all to my 2 daughters and put them ahead of myself then she could have done the same. I came through such horrible abuse but still managed to put my daughters first as it should be. They didn’t ask to be born so you should have the utmost respect and treat them right. This is why I just want to through my hands up and walk away. The verbal abuse just continued into my adulthood and I am so sick of hurting. I am worth more than that. I am important too.
Thank you all…today was one of those days with my mother. She 76 and loves to gamble, talk shit about family members and wonders why no one visits her. She’s done some awful shit through out her life and if she’s ever helped you she throws it in you face whenever possible. Everyone steals from her and everyone is out to get her. Growing up I could never remember a time we shopped together or visited a salon she only chased the mighty dollar and her own happiness. Thank you all for your honesty we are never alone in life!!!
Omg!!! For a minute, I thought I wrote this!
Thank you, thank you, thank you for this article.
Aging is a torture for all humans. But THESE people, without any passion in life, these superficial people who only know complaining, comparing others, cheating, lying- are the real tortures.
I am being slowly killed by my mother too.
I wish I wasn’t born-
Hi Bella: I understand the overwhelming state of your affairs with your mom. Find someone to talk to about this. It is a problem many people face: you are not alone. A good counselor will give you ways to handle her better.
My mom just turned 49 and for 5 years now complains about people not helping. But goes out and does things she wants to do with no problem. She got hurt on the job but claims she’s unfit to do anything else. She also has bad spending habits with the little money she does get and the money people give her sometimes goes to the wrong thing. I just want to finish college so I can really help and not get stuck living with her and a dead end job
Taking care of yourself is a way to help your mother. Get going in that direction and you will find it beneficial to you both.
This is very helpful to read all this. I’m glad I’m not alone.
That is important to not feel alone.
My father died suddenly in 2016. He wasn’t supposed to be the one to go first. My mother is the one who had open-heart surgery, dementia, thyroid issues, Parkinson’s, incontinence issues, and acid reflux. We all thought my father would outlive my mother but that’s not what happened. My mother is incapable of everything. She has been living with me for 4 years straight. 24/7. I’m resentful and extremely sad this is how my life turned out. It’s not rewarding nor is it happy. From the onset, my family deserted me. I don’t get along with them and personally hope they all end up in hell where they belong. Not a call to ask if she needs anything or a visit. Because they hate me, they are rotten to my mother. I pray every day for this to end. It’s a prison sentence and hell for one person to do this.
This article and comments are raw, honest, and so very, very human. As you can see, they aren’t uncommon, just unspoken. We’ve been conditioned to be “nice,” and not share thoughts or emotions that don’t match that exterior.
I work with family caregivers, having been one myself. I get how hard it can be at so many levels. You become angry, depleted, and fearful about how you will lash out. Sometimes we do. But, it leaves us feeling worse than before.
Covey Club has a Caregiver Room and I moderate the space. I would invite you to join us using the app to share your concerns, feelings, and needs. In turn, you will not be judged. It’s a safe space to share.
I find caregivers to be relentlessly supportive of one another and share their best solutions without forcing them upon anyone. I’m game to build a community that can move us beyond the essay and creates FULL-NESS for caregivers.
Here is one resource that might be helpful. This is a FREE Caregiver Study designed to utilize mindfulness techniques to help reduce caregiver stress and distress. It begins in April 2021.
Please take a look. I will be posting more ideas here or in the Caregiver Collective in the Covey Club app.
All your stories have something of mine. My mother couldn’t take care of herself either, and I was her emotional crutch from my early teens. Always made to feel that my needs took second place to hers. Unable to cope with behavior contradictory to her assumptions. In my twenties I felt forty, and needed to be out of her suffocating orbit to be myself. But, I did make a life for myself although made to feel guilty about it in the passive aggressive way she was a master in. Funny, as many of you also say, she was critical about the way I took care of my children, allowing them the space to be children. Not heaping the wrong kind of responsibilities on them. They have turned out to be loving and caring. They also give my husband and me the impression that they actually enjoy our company. This is something that never fails to surprise me, as I just absolutely hate being around my mother. She’s 96 now and suffers from the onset of dementia. She’s always been lonely so filled her life with friends, now they’re all dead and gone or unable to visit. Now she wants to move in with me, but I’m not going to do that because I don’t want to be miserable. I visit regularly and pay caregivers (much, much more than I can afford) but I’d rather do without than sacrifice my sanity.
She put herself first when I was young and at her mercy, and actually did something terrible to me when I was too young to protect myself.
These are the kind of women who are obsessed by their ‘weak’ health but are in fact strong and healthy and living long past their sell by dates. They’re sad and frightened to die because they know they wasted their lives. It took me a very long time to get where I’m now, but at 69 I wait for the day she’ll no longer be around. I no longer feel guilty for this wish either.
Thank you for your comment, Serene. I’m sorry your mom was not more self-aware. This was the case for many women in her generation.
This wonderful raw and honest article….and the list of subsequent replies has hit bullseye after bullseye with me. I live with my elderly mother who since I moved in with her.. has simply taken a back seat on life… I now cook, clean, shop garden and have become an unpaid and mainly unappreciated live in maid.
Although like tonight when my anger erupts and I tackle the more than sticky subject of why she does ‘’nothing” apart from watch tv and contributes zero to the daily tasks she replies “I never asked you to do anything’’ and totally refuses to see my frustration or sadness.
Your article made me see realise I wasn’t alone and the only person who can change the situation is me. However guilty and selfish …we only get one life and why should I let my mother suffocate and diminish mine. I have no idea how to alter the mess I’ve found myself in. Any help would be appreciated.
Hi Karen: I’m sorry you find yourself in this situation which afflicts so many of our generation. Here is a starter guide to self help. Follow their lead and look for support groups near you. You deserve that: https://www.helpguide.org/articles/parenting-family/family-caregiving.htm
I am so grateful to have found this site. I’m going through such a tough time with my mother and reading all of these stories has made me feel so not alone in this. The last several weekends my sister and I have been by my mothers place cleaning, doing laundry. buying groceries etc. mom is 89 and in denial about needing help. It is just too much to deal with. I’ve somewhat convinced her to give home care a try because I lied and told her the neighbors called Adult Services because they were concerned about an elderly woman that couldn’t care for herself. I told her it was either home care or she would have to go into a nursing home. Her house wreaks of urine, she refuses to let us wash her or at least assist. She’s developed a real incontinence problem where I find myself mopping urine from the floor. In addition, she threw out her dentures, it took me five appointments with her to get those dentures and I’ll be damned if I’m going through that again. She also had a pot of rotten food on the stove, with more rotten food in the fridge. It appears she has been taking things out of the freezer to prepare and then forgets all about it. I work full time, going to work early and getting home late. I don’t have time to get to her home during the week. My brother, the cocksucker, excuse me, simply couldn’t “deal” and doesn’t do anything for her. Sure, ignore it and it will just go away. I hope his hell is waiting for him. I’m so stressed all the time and feel so angry with her when she tries to argue that she’s managing. No you’re not! Listen to me you old bag!! I’ve often had thoughts of wishing she would just die already. It would be such a relief. I’m dreading seeing her this weekend as I know I will be entering her urine scented apartment with her bags of laundry just waiting for me. I’ve arranged for a laundry service today. To hell with that. It’s too time consuming. My time! I’m doing what I can but don’t know what I will do if home care doesn’t work out. I’m at my wits end. Thank you for this. I really needed to vent.
Hi Estelle: You are not alone. This is a common problem. Please look for a self-care group. You need a place to vent and some local help with what to do next. Check the other answers to comments here where I placed a link to a great self-care guide. It sounds to me like it’s time for your mother to move to a facility where they can care for her, regardless of her own thoughts about it. Thank you for commenting.
I’m 87 and I live by myself and I still have interest in lots of things my health is not what it used to be and my mind is still good there’s one thing that I absolutely don’t want in life I don’t want to live with my children I don’t want to fuss I don’t want to complain all the time I just want to enjoy the time that I have left when the time comes if it does that I can’t take care of myself I’m more than willing to go in a nursing home I’m sure I’ve had faults in the past but haven’t we all I would love to have the money to go into assisted living now but I don’t so I have to make the best of what I’ve got. I just don’t want to get in the circle where my kids hate me I just don’t want them to be a caretaker all I ask is that they come and see me once in awhile and I just hope that God grants me this thank you
Today I yelled at my Mother – she is 78 and been living with me for the past 14 years. I sat at this laptop and could not work because I felt so guilty. So I hit Google and this article by “anonymous” popped up. What a relief to find that I am not the only person going through 20 million emotions in one day. I am the eldest and I have 2 sisters who in Mom’s eyes can do no wrong, but ME, the person who promised her that she will never go to a Retirement Village, has put a roof over her head and food in her mouth and loved her unconditionally, does nothing right. I work my butt off – she does not want help around the house because she trust no one so I vac, clean, mow (1000 sq meters) and do all the DIY around the house. (I am constantly reminded by Mom of what still has to be done).I also have a job that keeps me busy until 10:00 in the evenings. I have had murderous thoughts, I have had thoughts of self destruction – just to get myself out of this situation I find myself in. THANK YOU!!! You have made me realise that I still love her but I need to develop a thick skin and become selectively deaf when it comes to Mom being critical and cynical. Most of all – you made me realise that I am NOT a bad person – just human.
Total,total nightmare,everyday I get up and take take of mother,that dear,sweet 89 year old that never gave a rats arse about me,used me as her councillor for years,complaining about my dad or my alcoholic brother,whose drinking career was financed by her,self absorbed passive aggressive narcissist,and that’s just her good points eh. Apparently she prays the lord will take her in her sleep,let’s hope he does before I do,haha,I’m joking of course,if I didn’t try to cheer myself up somehow i will be hoping for the lord to take me
I just typed into Google “I hate my elderly mother” and I’m so glad I did because I found you all….! My mum has ALWAYS LIVED WITH ME apart from 7 years reprieve when I basically had a breakdown and she went to live with my aunt and I’m now 61. She wasnt supportive or kind to me when I was younger….called md a slag because I slept with my boyfriend….ran out of the house threatening to kill herself ( if only). Get the picture? This morning she messed herself then walked up the stairs treading it all in…I didnt shout but cried….to which she said I was crying over my son…who has made me cry in the past but she used him to deflect from herself. I internalised the anger wasnting to hurt myself….I am s horrible person…she is 98.
Yes, yes, yes! I LOVE my mom and step dad and Spent six years convincing them to move closer to my family, but now I am constantly regretting that decision. We live just is half a mile apart and I now fantasize about the time when we were eight hours apart. My aging mother and stepfather expect way too much from me. I have four kids of my own and a BUSY family and while I try to help consistently throughout the week providing meals and cleaning and driving them to their appointments 1 around my own insane schedule for our family of SIX -it absolutely throws me OFF completely off when my mom seems to expect for me to drop everything at a moments notice requesting help to vacuum (for a third time this week) when I have not vacuumed or mopped my own house for two weeks. It’s as though it is expected and help is just assumed – without ever asking for permission. I want to be here to support her and this is why I wanted her closer during this season, but I didn’t expect her to be this reliant and dependent and insistent that my family serve them – over our own lives. OFTEN at the expense of all four of my children to satisfy their needs? That is where I start to feel the resentment and bitterness set in. She seems so disconnected or even judgmental when I remind her we are “busy” doing what kids this age do such as soccer Saturdays. That is NORMAL and I dream of space from and apart from them so I can JUST focus on my family without being responsible for my parents.
Sounds like it’s time for some boundary setting from your parents. We have done some great discussions of that at CoveyClub and it’s very helpful. Just because they are your parents, does not mean you don’t get to have boundaries.
Wow!! It’s not just me!!!
My mother destroyed my childhood after taking me from Grandmother when I was seven.
I got away from her at 16 and managed to build a beautiful life.
When I had my children she came to live in the same town as me, (but not close enough to be of any help just close enough that we had to run around after her), and I proceeded to allow her to ruin another three decades of my life. I didn’t think I had the right to deny my children a Grandmother. Shame she couldn’t be one and proceeded to treat my daughter in the same ways she did me. She loved my son though, as she did her own son who was a total nutcase, abusive to me and her and hasn’t had contact with her in 30 years. I tried cutting her out several times but something would always happen and I’d get a phone call saying “your mother has had a car accident (minor), health incident etc and you have to do something. I always ask myself why no one told her she had to look after me when I was young and vulnerable? Seems once you have Grey hair you are and always have been a saint on Earth.
Any way I did manage to get her into aged care when her dementia got too bad for her to refuse anymore. The aged care is terrible and I hate it. I keep an eye on them and hold them to account and go through phases of visiting and then not. Usually keep phone contact up very frequently except sometimes when I just can’t because my anger overwhelms me. Mainly holiday times, as now, Easter. I made so many allowances for her and my children’s father that I let my own life with my children fall second. Holidays always had to accommodate what they both needed so there was never time left for the three of us and now I find my son slipping away with very little tradition in our own tiny family to hold him. It breaks my heart. Their father and my mother I see now are so similar and even though I broke away from them both very early they still impacted us in the end.
I want to feel okay about what I feel and then I’d be okay 🥲
A wonderful article. Just knowing that I am not alone in having such a dislike for my negative, lazy, selfish and narcsisstic elderly mother, makes me feel less guilty.
The whole point is to realize this is not just you. This is a very difficult situation that neither parents nor daughters could have imagined or wished for.
This comment section and this article are incredibly validating. I have always been the default caregiver to my mother. I cannot stand it and literally dream of running away. I know that I will likely lose my wonderful boyfriend because I am too responsible for others to have ample time for him. I have worked diligently this last year to prepare to sell my home, which she lives in, and find us both other places to be for my sanity and future financial safety. I have looked into care facilities which are so expensive it’s frightening. I am looking at a 4 acre property with a 2 family and separate in law house on it just to get some distance! It won’t be enough but her 6 feet from my kitchen is killing me. When I expressed my distressed emotional situation in February, she said “you think you’re depressed? What about me?” My heart just collapsed knowing I will never get validation from a her, never a thank you that is genuine, never a true understanding of who I am or what my needs are. She doesn’t have it in her. Ironically, on my father’s death bed, she said the same about him and how she wished she hadn’t waited for him to change. I wonder why I still wait.
Beautifully painted AJ. We understand entirely. We published this piece so everyone could feel validated. This is an issue no one expected (on either side) and no one prepared for. Hang in there.
Wonderful and timely article. I bear the brunt of most of the caregiving for my 83-year-old legally blind, narcissistic mother who has borderline personality disorder. Like many who have responded, she did not really parent me and words can’t say how much I hate and resent having to take care of her needs, listen to her endless complaints and do my best not to let guilt swallow me whole. To say she is difficult is putting it extremely mildly. I have one sibling who lives in a state on the opposite coast and while he calls her 1X a week he doesn’t shoulder much more than that. He will if I ask but then I feel like I am also having to manage that. Last fall we gave my mother an ultimatum since her ability to live “independently” was completely dependent on my being her caregiver (we lived 25 miles apart). She had the option of moving in to a private-pay assisted living facility or to remain at home but if she were to remain at home I was going to turn all of her care over to a geriatric care manager which she would have to pay for with her own savings. We explained to her that, while the option was hers, the downside of the latter is that when her $$ ran out it would be difficult to find a decent nursing home for her to move in to. She chose the assisted living facility although reminds me regularly, while she recites an endless litany of complaints about the place, that I “put her there”. I can say that most of the time I really feel like I hate her. Were she not my mother I would definitely not choose to be in a relationship with her. Most people don’t. At my worst I argue with her and yes I do say unkind things at times. At my best I keep my mouth shut and let her rant and rant and rant and don’t try to persuade her that life is not the shit hole she perceives it to be. I wish I could say I give her hugs or try to make her feel better or compliment her or anything like that but truth be told it is hard to do and doesn’t feel good. I am in therapy and trying to find a place of serenity amidst this. Anyway, didn’t mean to go on for so long but just to say I really appreciate knowing that I am not alone and it is not shameful to say this sucks and I didn’t have to deal with it.
You are definitely not alone Kim. Hang in there. Therapy for you is a great service to lean on.
Wow! The freedom to let go of the guilt!! Thank you!
Yes. You are free. No guilt. We all have the same issues and feelings. xo
So glad to see that we’re starting to find the courage to step away from the pearl-clutching about wanting to be free of elderly parents, so many of whom have already given us years of irreparable abuse, denigration, and terror. My mother has done her best to make my first 56 years as miserable as she could manage. The day she dies will be the greatest day of my life. I pray daily for the strength to be the best person I can be until that blessed salvation arrives.
I’ve always said: just because they are your parents doesn’t mean they are good for you. I’m sorry that this is your truth. It was mine as well.
As many on here, stumbled across this page when googling for advice after getting to the end of my tether.
In my case, I have somehow ended up being the sole caregiver to my narcissistic stepmother, this is my worst nightmare and I don’t know how I let myself get in this situation. I feel trapped, stuck, anxious, overwhelmed, used and have to work hard on myself every day to not go crazy.
I am a single mother, with 2 brothers, initially about 7 years ago, I gave up my own house as suggested by my father, I only lived down the road and moved into my fathers house with my daughter, as I already helped them a lot anyway and he said it would be better for me financially, my stepmother also came crying to me saying she couldn’t cope anymore with looking after my dad or doing housework.
My natural mother died when I was 4 and dad married my stepmother when I was 12, we never got on, she emotionally, mentally and physically abused me, treated me differently from my 2 brothers and also turned my brothers and dad against me, even my Nan said she used me as her slave, after an eating disorder and suicide attempt I left home at 18 and finally felt free.
Fast forward to today, dad was very ill, I loved him dearly and wanted to look after him, dad was similar to me and I also ended up in a narcissistic relationship which I only just got out of. Dad died 1 and 1/2 years ago, he didn’t make a will and so step mum got everything, even though I’ve put so much of my own money into decorating and fixing this house.
Stepmother loves this power over me, my daughter now an adult and left home, younger brother takes care of step-mothers finances, but doesn’t visit much or do anything round the house, just has a nice chat, eats and leaves, older brother lives far away and barely see him, I do everything for stepmother who has multiple illnesses and get no appreciation, she makes stuff up and lies, bitches behind everyone’s backs, including dads when he was still alive, she makes no sense most of the time, says she can’t do things, but then perfectly capable of doing the things she wants.
I don’t know what to do anymore, covid really hasn’t helped, just given her more excuses to be more needy and always tries to make me feel sorry for her, very self centred and talks about herself constantly, not at all interested in mine or my daughters lives, my daughter said I should just leave her.
I’m pretty sure stepmother has absolutely no idea how I feel and thinks our relationship is okay and normal, she never listens to me and talks about herself or gossips or people on soaps if I ever try and talk about myself or even my daughter, I don’t know how my dad put up with her for so long and realise now how dumb and useless she really is.
I do still feel bad for saying all this, I have wanted and tried to have a good relationship with her, but it’s impossible, she’s so ‘nice’ in public and to other people, it’s so unfair I need to leave for the sake of my mental health, but know for a fact she can’t survive on her own and no one else would ever do for her what I do, but she doesn’t appreciate it at all just takes advantage of my kind caring nature and the fact that I have no job or place to live except here, as I gave up my house and job to look after her and dad.
So good to read others experiences and vent on here, as sure my daughter and best friend are sick of my moaning, don’t feel so alone now.
Charlotte: you are not alone. I would suggest you look into getting some kind of counseling so you don’t feel so overwhelmed. Perhaps you could get the right steps to begin speaking up to your stepmother about how you really feel. You never know what will come of it. I had a stepmother who treated me miserably and many years later confronted her with it. She was shocked and didn’t know she had done so much damage. I was able to forgive her after we had several awkward conversations later in life.
I have severe issues with the same problems everyone on this page is having I love my mother but I hate her I resent her, I wasn’t taken care of and feel so guilty all the time I know God’s going to put me in hell. I lost my husband a few years ago now I’m just trying to make peace and enjoy my retirement years and I’m stuck having to take care of her and my stepfather with no help from my sibling. I hate it I do everything I can for them and all she does is complain or yell at me or try to make me feel sorry for her and I know she’s suffering all she does is repeat herself over and over again with her dementia and it’s driving me insane. I have bipolar PTSD and anxiety order since I was young and I think I’m gonna end up dying before her. I lost my husband a few years ago now I’m just trying to make peace and enjoy my retirement years and I’m stuck having to take care of her and my stepfather with no help from my sibling. I hate it I do everything I can for them and all she does is complain or yell at me or try to make me feel sorry for her and I know she’s suffering all she does is repeat herself over and over again with her dementia and it’s driving me insane. I have bipolar PTSD and anxiety order since I was young and I think I’m gonna end up dying before her. Of course I don’t want her dead but I want to put in a nursing home and I can’t get her in one and they can’t afford assisted-living. I got her help for Medicaid. I can’t get my own housework and yardwork done in a constant worry and guilt of killing me I don’t enjoy any time with my friends anymore I’m depressed all I wanna do is stay in bed. I got her help for Medicaid. I can’t get my own housework and yardwork done in a constant worry and guilt of killing me I don’t enjoy any time with my friends anymore I’m depressed all I wanna do is stay in bed How can you hate somebody that you love and they have placed their burden on you How can you hate somebody that you love and they have placed their burden on you?
Thank you. Im only 33, but definitely nowhere near living the life I had planned as my mom’s decisions in life have impacted me negatively so much so she now lives with me, and I have to care for her at least economically.
She’s 75, we get along but there is resentment on my part towards her, as I see time going by and me not being able to do what I want to do because my money goes into caring for both of us. This includes food for 2,a house with 2 rooms, etc.
For the past 3 years I’ve thought about how much longer she’ll be around. Like the OP, I tell myself that she’ll eventually be gone so I might as well be grateful and loving, but again: time keeps going by and I’m stuck. I can’t move abroad, my rent is expensive, she’s always complaining about something, I’m never good enough, etc. And it makes me bitter. I pay for a house I can’t even bring a date to. Actually dating for me is non existent because I’m ashamed to tell others that my mom lives with me! I feel like such a failure.
All I dream about is everything I’d like to do once she’s gone. “I’ll finally be able to start my life!”. I’ve even started saving money so when the time comes, I can quit my job and travel (my passion in life which has been on hold for years).
Hell, Im not even happy with my job, but it pays the goddamn bills.
So thank you for posting this. I feel less alone.
thank you for posting this. I feel less alone now.
My story isn’t much different. I’ve taken care of my mom since I was 12. I was the oldest daughter, but #5 child behind 4 brothers. When she couldn’t find a job (complained it was age discrimination) I employed her and paid her more than the job was worth, hoping she’d plan for her later years. I still paid for her housing. Her complaints never stopped and she spent all her money. She was the victim always… the world was out to get her. After the end of my marriage and the sale of our home where she lived in our guest house for 10 years I moved her with me and put a small bungalow on my new property. I knew we couldn’t live under the same roof. I thought she’d enjoy her golden years and I only needed to be sure she was safe and cared for. Then 5 years ago the dementia creeped in. I’ve been chained to her since, unable to enjoy my own retirement the way I want and making my day be around all her needs and schedule. She’s not an awful person to be around, she is pretty sweet in her dementia, but the demands and sacrifice are without relief. After taking care of her for over 50 years, I just want to be free of the responsibility and sacrifices. I just want my life to be mine… my children are grown and i am otherwise unencumbered by a spouse and have just retired. Am I not entitled to my own life? Nope. Not as long as Mom, without her mind but with a healthy body, is no more…
Like many, I googled “I dislike my mother”, though I expected not to find anything of much use. SURPRISE!!! I am so delighted to know I am not alone and it is okay for me to have these feelings. Growing up in so much dysfunction I felt neither nurtured nor loved by any member of my household (mother, father, sister) nor by many members of the immediate family. Mother was too busy attending to the needs of my womanizing, alcoholic, gambling father and my sister (who was later in adulthood diagnosed bipolar, schizophrenic, paranoid). During therapy, I realized my mother was grooming me, from an early age, to be her “best friend” and the “go to” person to accommodate her needs as she saw fit. I always had to “fix” what was going wrong in her life, especially where my sister was involved. I was always the emotional support though I never got the support I needed. Mother was such an enabler to my sister’s erratic behavior, she could never do any wrong. Ohhh, the stories I could tell. I never knew how to love myself and looked for love outside (naturally, all the wrong places). Too busy trying to please my mother to get the approval/attention she gave to my sister. During therapy it was brought out that my mother didn’t like me … heck, she probably didn’t like herself. I left the state putting approximately 1400 miles between us. Little did I realize until years later, I needed more than physical distance, I needed emotional/mental distance. My son was responsible for bringing mother for a “visit” and she ended up staying/living with him. After some time she had reasons for wanting live with me, much to my dismay. My fault, I should have said “HELL NO!!!”
While working full time and taking care of her and the all the housework, she did nothing except watch TV and go through my things while I was at work. Quite contrary to her behavior with my sister, who by the way committed suicide – that’s another story. Her attitude at times was so nasty I gave up on the kisses/hugs (especially after one cheek kiss she remarked to me “Judas was betrayed by a kiss”. Then when she called me a bitch … I had had it ~ I was done.
I had a recurrence of breast cancer in 2019, she was unsupportive, didn’t call weeks before my nor the day of to wish me luck on my surgery … nothing. Complained to my son I wasn’t speaking to her. Wow! Now, due to her lack of self care) she needs 24 hour care. I am not the one!!! I am working on forgiving her, not for her but for me. I prefer to have peace for whatever time I have left on this earth. My son ( since he saw fit to bring her here) will have to work it out as she is too stressful for me to deal with. I love my son dearly and will assist him in whatever way that allows me to remain at peace.
When I hear people speak of how great their mothers were, I am happy for them, smile and am silent. If you read this, thank you for allowing me to vent.
This article came at the right time for me, just had another arguement with my almost 100 yr old father because I had to cancel my visit today for someone to come and fix my roof. My needs do not exist in his world. I feel like I am hanging on to sanity by a thread and have given up hope of ever getting my life back after 26 years of caring for first my mother, then my father. I am 66 and still waiting to have my life. I cannot believe how much they have taken from me or how much I have sacrificed to try to be a good daughter. It is like a black hole..I have been swallowed up. Thank you so much for sharing your feelings…I was feeling like such a bad person but now realise I am not alone. This is wrong though surely…and notice that it is all women in this position😔
Oh thank you for this! My mom just came back from surgery. She will recover assuming she doesn’t over-martyr herself. I lost my temper with her because she apparently assumed that her husband got fed by God and his and her clothes magically got washed and her plants magically stayed alive and ‘don’t you feel how dirty the floor is?’ after I have been pulling 16 hour days while fighting insomnia. That was her only comment to me. No thank yous or anything. Well. Granted I know I will never live up to her expectations. I could literally be her slave and I still would not be a good enough daughter. That’s because she has told me how wonderful daughters of othrr people are. How happy they make their mothers. Unlike me. But i know she needs me now. And its not like we want her to end back up in hospital. So I shall do my duty. Because I love her even if she doesn’t love me. And I accept that. Wrestling with the belief that she does is only gonna undo any strength I hve found these past years to be my own person.
To the OP. Thanks for this. Its calming to know I am not the only one. Can I be your 11th friend?
My expressions are similar to most others. I’m angry, lonely and at my breaking point. Thank you for saying what we all find so hard to say and then feel guilty for saying.
I’m so happy to find this article and these comments that don’t make me feel like a terrible person for feeling like I do. My mother is 81 and suffers from IPF. She has an oxygen concentrator 24/7. If we leave the house for appointments etc., we are always scared the portable will fail and she’ll die. She demands that I come over her house (she’s a hoarder, and has dogs in the house), wants me to clean the dog poop and pee from the floors, do laundry, vacuum, dishes, empty trash, etc. She sits on the couch and watches shopping shows. When I finally sit down to take a rest, she notices a rubber band across the room on the floor and demands that I get up and pick it up now. She has cats and a very large yard which requires attention, she thinks I’m a man who can pull all of those weeds and trim trees. She’s too cheap to hire people to help. She talks terribly about family members. I have a son who is disabled and needs me too, and she tells me “he can figure out his own meal, you’re helping me now!” She pretends she can’t do things, I do it for her, then I find out she was capable. Manipulation is her game. At first I asked her several times to come and live with me, she refused and now I’m so happy she refused, the offer will not be put on the table again. I love my husband and my home and I’m not willing to sacrifice it for her. She has money saved and won’t part with a penny, so let’s see what happens. My older sister was always her favorite and now, not even she wants her. If anything else, this whole reading experience has opened my eyes about what NOT to do do to my children when I get old. Thanks.
I am the mid-60s baby boomer who is now in a nursing home. I know it is best to be here and not living with my daughter. We tried that when I was still working and didn’t have vascular dementia.
I don’t know if the parents being talked about can see any of their annoying behavior. My daughter told me her feelings and I didn’t know what to say. I found this site and sent it to her. She said it was helpful.
I would feel like many of these people if I had to care for my mid80s mom. I am grateful to have sibs who live near her and are helping her. She lives alone and functions more like someone my age!
Bottom line… thank you for telling your truth. I’m not sure how to respond to my daughter’s resentments but having read this I have a better idea about myself and her. We are both normal. Betty Davis said, “Growing old ain’t for sissies!”
If you don’t mind, I would like to add one thought to your article. It is very real & helpful. Everything you express resonates with me. But I see one area I feel is left out. To me one of the most important words in this situation is forgiveness. Forgiving both your mother and yourself. Forgiveness is not something you do for your mother (or whoever you find yourself resenting); it is for you yourself, to free yourself from holding on to anger & resentment. After all I at least find holding on to it really doesn’t accomplish anything anyway. It just builds higher walls. It is a choice.
And by the way forgiveness is not a one time event. If whatever trigger causes the feelings to come back, you can choose forgiveness again..& again…& again…until that trigger loses its power over you & your reactions.
I hope this might be helpful to you or to a reader. It certainly has been for me.
I found this article upsetting. My parents both fought cancer during the same time. Yes, it was the hardest thing I ever have gone through. It was heart breaking. At times I was exhausted, flustered etc. I felt like I couldn’t do enough for them. I wanted them to have the comforts of staying in their home etc. They had always been there for me, no matter what. This article lacks compassion and information. Ex: elderly always complaining (salty food-as you grow older you’d taste buds change, you get absent minded, you aren’t able to do the things you use to) take care of yourself before “resenting/being ugly to the people that loved you unconditionally.
My mother has lived and been dependent on me since my dad passed 40 years ago. She speaks to me everyday like Im a child, I am now 63. She is constantly dont do this, don’t do that, should have done this, should have done that. Bosses around my husband and grown children, ruined 2 of my marriages, I feel like I have wasted my life on her. I hate her, but love her. Have 4 brothers who do nothing for her. Im so disgusted with myself, I really dont know what to do
So true. My father seems to go on and on with demanding care needs and no help from siblings. I am getting close to the age my mother was when she died and feel I will never have my freedom. There is a good chance that he will outlive me. I have long stopped having any sort of holiday as my dad’s demands are constant. I have avoided his calls to live with him and have a 3 hour round trip drive each time. He never thanks me and complains about everything in his life. I love him but do not like him. This month alone, I have supervised a new bathroom build – to a disabled access room, done his gardening, spent a fortune on petrol back and forth, now he has ‘had an accident’ and dropped poo all over the living room and wants me to hire a carpet cleaner and clean all his carpets, then do his tax return from boxes of receipts…this will take a week (he refuses to use an accountant). He has a live-in carer but that is only for daily washing and feeding. I am exhausted but then I feel guilty for wanting it all to be over …
I’m very thankful to all of you sharing.
My 99 year old mother has lived with me and my for the past two years. Before that she lived alone in her 4 bedroom house that sat on an acre of land. She had lived alone there since my father died in 1995. She thankfully quit driving many years ago. My husband took care of her house and our house for all those years. It was exhausting.
She is physically very healthy. She is losing her eyesight and hearing, so that upsets her greatly. Having her here has been good since we only have one house to take care of.
She has been very helpful to us financially in the past. I don’t feel as grateful for that as I should.
She was very strict, severe and seemed to feel the world revolved around her when I was growing up.
One of the worst things now is her constant crying. She’s always been a crier. She’s pretty much turned every holiday and occasion into an all day crying session.
I finally got her on some ‘anxiety medicine’. It has helped some, but not enough.
I am diagnosed with major depressive disorder that I inherited from her.
I take her to all appointments-doctoe, hair, etc. I don’t mind. I worked from home full time. I’ve had to use all vacation time to take care of her needs and wants.
I feel like I don’t entertain her enough or provide for all that she would like. Nothing is ever good enough. I love her, but I am exhausted and I know I would be considered a very bad person for that.
My mother and I argued last night about her not being honest with me about her health. She is disabled and lives alone and manages quite well and has made it clear she will not accept care aides or go to a nursing home. I’m in the middle of an 11 year marriage and divorce, my nerves are frayed to say the least. I’m the oldest and my sister bailed 3 years ago and moved out of state far away. So it’s all on me. Yet so many of my family members say, “you know, you don’t have to do this, you choose too!” Oh, like that is supposed to help. Funk me!
She calls me back last night, I was napping to get my balance back, I hadn’t eaten all day from my nerves and my husband moving out some of his belongings. He was overwhelmed truly and now he wants to talk!? Really!?
The last 3 years, including covid have been hell and finally I named the elephant in the living room that we have been walking around! So she calls me and say, ” I don’t want to be a burden to you or anyone, ok I love you”
I hung up the phone and went back to sleep. Is she letting me go? If so, why can’t I let go? Guilt, shame and other similar feeling flood my head and heart.
Gotta sit on this one for a while….
Then this morning I sat in the bathroom with my tablet and thought, fuck it, I’m going to google “I don’t want to take care of my aging mother” and this page caught my eye. As I began to read, I said, “Wow, wow, wow! And proceeded to cry while still sitting on the thrown. Toilet paper conveniently nearby while my tears and snot out of the way. As I read more, I took a deep breath.
See, I’ve always been aware that I have a unique mother situation. She was born with cerebral palsy, a difficult birth and the use of forceps to turn her around in a breech birth. She’s lucky to be alive. She’s smart, manipulative beyond imagination, independent and a fucking psychologist too! Yes mother was able to work and socialize in high society despite the constant discrimination. That’s another long story and very real for the disabled.
She caused much drama in our lives, 2 divorces. One from an alcoholic abuser and one from a man who sexually abused me. Yeah, when she caught him in my bedroom she asked if I was ” trying to ruin her marriage!” I will never forget, never! I left home at age 16 and was emancipated by the courts. I never told the judge what happened, just that I was ready to go out on my own. My mother of course said I was a difficult teenager. You bet I was, I couldn’t find my voice! Oh the issues continued as I reconnected with her later in life. Many complications and outrageous experiences with a mother who also was mentally ill but denied it fervently. Well, my sister and I have PTSD, anxiety and depression. So severe that neither of us are able to work and maintain friendships etc. it’s a total nightmare. Yes, we have time on our hands so I tell myself I must take care of her as no one else will. Move aside Jesus I need the cross to crucify myself!
I even feel guilty writing all this. It’s really too much for me to bare I can’t function. Yes, I call her and visit her and try to be the “good daughter” because I must. At least I keep telling myself that. What will people think of me? It’s a love hate lationship for sure and her psychological abuse and manipulation are all over the narcissistic scale. I wasn’t ready for this in any way shape or form.
I’m glad to see people are talking about this online. I have never chatted online or even dared to make such an inquiry as this. Glad to know I’m not alone. Aka Jasminiqua Jones
I felt so ashamed when I (in pure desperation) started googling “Why do I resent my mother?”. I quite honestly did not think other women experienced the same type of thing and I expected to find results confirming that I am indeed a horrible daughter. Thank you for this article. Although it won’t neccisarily “fix” anything it is good to know its “not just me”.
This article upset me greatly! It was cold and callous! I am 68 years old and my husband is 76. To think that we may have children that may feel the way this person felt that wrote this Essay is absolutely horrifying to think about! People don’t like to get old. They don’t enjoy losing their independence or having such horrific aches and pains that they can barely get out of bed in the morning. They didn’t bring on any of that to themselves. Their demise will probably not be at the convenience of their obligated Children who just find it a nuisance to deal with them. You know, Karma is a bitch and these younger generation people will one day be wondering (in their old age) if anybody gives two shits about their fucking mother! Good luck! What goes around comes around!
I found this article when I googled “taking care of elderly parents who were unkind”. What a relief to read it and the comments. Most people seem to have such warm, fuzzy feelings about their mothers — I do not. I have been so angry… my mom was cruel and critical of me when I was growing up, told me no one would ever marry me, that I’d never have friends, that I was a bad daughter and a bad person. She made it clear to me that, in her eyes, I had no value. When I was grown, I moved away and although I visited her regularly out of a sense of duty, I never moved back. I have a great job and a beautiful family now, 1000 miles from where I grew up. For the last five years, though, my mother has needed increasing help, and assumed I’d give up my life to move back and take care of her. My brother (who lives 20 minutes from her) of course is not expected to do anything. I’ve done everything I can: taken months off from work, away from my family, taken care of her after her falls, flown back and forth literally fifteen times in a year, all while she criticizes me and tells me that I’m never doing enough. It’s been very hard for me to find the compassion and patience to care for her when she was so mean to me when I was young and vulnerable. I’ve been dutiful, but my heart isn’t in it. I’ll be relieved when she is gone and this is over.
So glad to have came across this article. My mom has been living with me for about five years. She has been depressed for years and has anxiety from hell and she barely leaves the house. But, she can totally fend for herself. her health besides the anxiety and depression is not too bad. she can still live a great life. She is 73. But she chooses just to slowly waste away and every day i get to see her wasting away and not doing a damn thing about it. I have tried everything possible to get her to get better. Drs, counselors, family meetings. Nothing makes this woman want to live life. I cannot take it anymore. watching her waste away is killing me. I am 48 and single and dating and I would love to meet someone and have a life with them but having to take care of my mom when she really can take care of herself is giving me anxiety that I have never have. And her negativity is beyond insane. Cant talk to her more than five minutes before i am so angry i have to walk away. She doesnt have much money to get her own place so trying to get her into senior living. I have finally said screw this, i have got to do what i need to do for myself. My health is starting to deteriorate because of the stress of dealing with her. and i love her so damn much. we used to be the best of friends. and i miss the person she used to be. I want my mom back but she doesnt want to fight for her life back and it makes me angry cause that makes me feel she doesnt want to fight for a longer healthier life with me and her grandchildren and her son. They dont see the stress we have on the care giving end of it. I am glad i am not alone on this and i truly feel for all of you.
This was beautifully written and timely found – my 79-year-old mother is living with me now. She & my dad (Parkinson’s) moved in with me a couple of years ago because no one wanted to cope with dad. He passed away last year d/t kidney failure, but without him to keep her focused, she’s been driving me nuts. My brothers have had her for visits – bless them! – but my sister moved to a different country several years ago so that she could live her own life. The thing that touched me about this article most closely is the articulation of that fear: my parents basically relied on me to fill their spots while they worked, so I didn’t get time when I was younger to have a social life or date. From the time I turned about 16 until I was in my 40s and 50s, dad used to advertise in church for anyone with sons, nephews, grandsons, etc…. So, now that I’m the maiden aunt, it’s on me to care for my mom, and I can see it as clearly as the reflection in my mirror that if/when my turn comes, I will be on my own because I won’t have anyone left. I love my mom, and I am so glad that she is here with me, but there are days when I wish that she had stayed closer to one or the other of my brothers. Then they would know what it’s really like.
I am not alone in this, so many thoughts and emotions were put into words by these courageous people. I wish I could be on the opposite end and say it is easy but it is not. I gave up my life now just when I became an empty nester with my husband. I am told to keep my emotions in tow but the outbursts of comments made sends me spiraling. My heart too is not in it anymore. I am saddened by this. Taking care of an elder parent I thought would be different. I just cannot take it anymore. I cannot even cry if I wanted too (which I try.) As per above comment “Maybe you have always been longing to be cared for fully by her, and now that she is on the tail-end of life, it is inescapably clear that she will never care for you the way you wanted her to.” this is exactly true in my case. Hoping it gets better.
Michelle: yes, realizing she can not care for you the way you always wanted is part of the healing process. Hang in there.
Ditto for every emotion expressed here. My mother undermined and controlled me my entire life. I was also an only child and a daughter and after 20 years as a single parent of 4 , now handcuffed to my nearly 95 year old mother. My mother did a 180 at 93, suddenly telling me how wonderful I am and how much she loves me after abusing me to such a degree it set a blueprint for unhealthy relationships for life. She lives an hour away in her own home, a request written in the estate plan , and my life has been hell trying to fulfill her wishes. Three round the clock caregivers drive me insane and are draining the trust set up for me and eventually my four children . There is no end to the maintenance of her home and estate. I have finally set some boundaries and plan to be away a good portion of this summer. She has dementia , is in diapers and at 65 I am running out of time to live my own life. No one should be burdened like this.
We hear you. The generation of our parents didn’t expect to live this long and so there was no planning–on their part or ours. What we can do is make sure we plan ahead for our children so they don’t have to be burdened like this with us. Thank you for your insights.
This article certanly resonated with me! My mom was an awful parent. She had 6 kids she neither had the sense nor the money to care for. She played favorites and I was her least favorite daughter. There were no hugs in my dysfunctional family. I left home in my early teens and made a good, stable life for myself. She is now 93 and has a caregiver which I did all the paperwork to get, including paying an attorney to get her qualified. I care for mother one day a week, manage her financial and medical bills and issues. She lies about expenditures and hides things from me which frustrates me because it couod impact her in-home healthcare qualification. One of my sisters cares for her one day a week, too, but she’s constantly trying to squeeze money out of her. My mother thinks the sun shines out of her and gives her money without telling me then complains she can’t have new carpet, etc. She makes me give her receipts when I have to buy things for her but casually hands her atm card over to my sister, however, only wants ME to manage her needs. She spends 4 hours a day praying and reading the Bible but lies compulsively (she always has) and hides things from me like I’m her enemy. If it weren’t for me, she’d be in some old folks home instead of her own comfy home yet she treats me like I’m her nemesis, never calls unless she needs something and acts like she can’t stand me. I do not like her, I’m sorry, what is there to like?? Signed — Used and Tired
Wow, I feel you wrote this article to scream what has been in my heart for years. You helped me to understand Why I resent not only my mother but also my selfish siblings for leaving me all alone in this. As a child, I was her least favorite and now that she is helpless, I’m the one who has to stick around and provide care for her so my sibling can enjoy their freedom. I raised my daughter as a single mother and now I have to raise my parents, not to mention the old scare of childhood! Thank You for your beautiful and educating article. Just reading it brought so much peace to my exhausted soul.
I was so angry and desperate for more than two weeks, that I tried google to find answers and am so glad I found this page. Like several of the experiences here, I have, by sheer default, ended up as a caregiver for my mother. I am fifty-five today and she moved in to my home when I was 41. I have not had any chance to live my life at all and have taken the entire brunt of my parents failed marriage. She moved in after she separated from my father.
She and my father have always had a bitter and battle filled relationship and there has been physical abuse/ domestic violence from his side and emotional abuse from her side. They lived in a perpetual marriage of trying to control one another and finally separated around 14 years ago. Their personalities are identical – both are manipulative, emotionally dishonest and have no accountability for their emotional abuse towards themselves or their kids. Growing up there was a clear sign of favouritism towards the son, he grew up with entitlement which continues even today. And this has not changed in adult years too.
At the time that she was seeking to move out, all the three siblings (we are three) agreed to equally act as the caregivers. However, with time, and the fact that I was the single daughter – while the other two siblings were married with their respective families, it became this sham – where I have been doing all the care giving and my siblings are happily living their own lives. Nobody has made any sacrifices or compromises in their lives and conveniently this has literally been dumped on me.
My mother is toxic – it took me years of pain and hurt to finally come to the conclusion that both my parents are toxic parents and in their separation I have ended up as the scapegoat to be emotionally abused. Whatever I have done has not been enough for either of my parents – my father has a pension and doesn’t contribute a penny towards my mother. My sister is not working and we come from a culture that is highly patriarchal and so there is no effort on her part whatsoever to pull her weight in the care giving, even though she can. My brother conveniently lives abroad and makes tall claims of helping out but has never really done so. She took a brief respite and stayed with him for a while but now for the last 8 years has not left my home. It is not so much the care giving, but the demands and frustration she hurls at me. Where I have forcefully established boundaries, she is not hesitant to keep on violating them; to the point where I lose my temper and end up screaming. Initially I used to feel guilty but now I don’t because I am pushed to that corner by a highly manipulative and toxic parent. As I enforced boundaries I also saw the envy come to the forefront because I was no longer playing the game she was controlling.
The worst is the undermining and belittling that is always happening – its like a psychological battle for control in every aspect. It took me years to realize that I was being emotionally, physically (care giving is a physical task too) and financially used, manipulated and controlled to serve her needs and ends and being the sensitive one among the three of us, I took the brunt silently, leading to deep conflict within myself. There have been cases of outright envy from each and every member of the family towards me and somehow those are merely shrugged away if I have spoken up about it. I have even been told I am over sensitive and reactive. Everytime I say that I will drop her off to one of my siblings there is absolutely no pro-active response from them – no one will say “hey do that, you need a break too”! It will be about why their homes may not be as comfy as mine is for her? The only reason why mine is comfy is that I am single! For my mother any mention of her leaving my home for a while leads to guilt tripping with claims that she is caring for me and cooking in my home. The only reasons she cooks is to keep herself active – more often than not she cooks what she likes and eats whatever she wants and then turns it around as if she is doing me a favour. All her financial expenses are mine. Finally after 13 years I told her to use money from my brother’s account which they jointly share for her medical expenses when all her living expenses are mine still. That also created a huge battle initially but I stuck to my stand firmly and established that she will use her son’s money too. As of that is not bad enough she resents me having friends, a life of my own – and is highly insecure that I may actually find a partner and marry! I have given 14 years of my life and they have not given even a few months. I am so utterly fed up that I just can’t wait for this to be over!
I must agree with the last comment, that was definitly a scream.
I don’t know how to scream any more.
I can’t stand to be with my mom any more. I am 35, and yes I never lived alone. Yesterday I fould a kitten on the Highway and I decided to bring it home and I needed her promission. I felt so small, smaller then the kitten in my arms.
I had always been responsible one. I worked while I was on highschool which is not tipical where I live. But I didn’t work for my self. Everything I worked for went inside the house. My mom never worked. Sure she kept the house clean, but that hasn’t been happening for past 20 years. My dad pasted away more then 10 years ago. And only I see my mom is turning in to a monster that is trying to drag me not to go outside, not to have friends, lovers, pets, hobbies. Nothing.
At the moment I am watching her smoke 10 cigarette of the day in our super small apartmant that she doesn’t use asshtray, and trowing a paper in garbage that was missed my a lot. She use to cook, but for last 20 years, I am eating crap. Most of the time she is pushing me to order Burgers and then saying how I don’t Save much.
Everytime my brother comes over we end up talking how we should move out, or I should where she say that she is fine but then she switches in to guit mode saying that she always thought I would take care of her.
Once my bother stood up to her about me being guit in and she laughed at him. Saying that she raised me in to thing she wanted me to be and nothing can change that.
I feel so empty and numb for the past 6/7 years. I went to a therapist couple of times. The first, she had a conversation with, Like I am a baby or suffering from extream mental illnes. The second one, she went trough my papers and found a note of the doctor. She was crying and pissed at my that I shamed her infront of my doctor. I stoped going to therapy.
Latley I don’t know what to do. My mom is only focused on me working more and more, and less from home, but not participating in eating lunch with my coworkers or anything cause that is a waste of money and she wants to rebuild the house her mother left her.
I just can’t. Every shirt I buy is a rebelion I regret. So why should I even bother. I can’t wate for the day I will die. She can live 10/20 years more. And after that I would not have a life. I would be a skin with a dead body inside, the same thing I am today.
So many posts resonate with me. My mum is 75, has terminal breast cancer and jumps from emotional days regulation outbursts to another. I didn’t realise until I’m now into my 40s how all my life I’ve had to be my mums keeper, carer, emotional punchbag. She puts on smiles for others and can swing into rages with both me and my son. The constant criticism of others, family, people on TV has been too much to bear.
Her cancer has only made it worse, she takes everything out on me, blaming me for her cancer, stating in the past that she hopes I suffer.
I can’t even go anywhere with my son without jealous rages, so we never go on holiday, despite working so hard at work and looking after my son.
Both my son and I needed a rest from her and had a day at the seaside recently, whilst she was visited by her other grand daughter. We had 5 hours away from her and were unable to tell her as she goes into a full blown rage. However she fkund a parking ti jet in our car and manipulated my son into telling her we had bed away fir the day, then raged again saying I am sneaky and always havebeen. I’m the only person who has stayed around long enough to care for her but it’s so unbelievabley horrible. I hame no life, she wants me as an extention of her. My sister dies t get any of this and is just as horrible as my mum. I’m not perfect but I try. I’m bit sure how much more I can take, it’s getting me down the constant abuse and it’s only getting worse
I’m 25 and my grandmother is 80. She’s taken care of me since I was 8 months. I know I’m blessed to have her, because my life would be totally different if I didn’t.
I graduated high school, college, and live with her as I find my path (like I should be doing as a 20 year old). But lately as time has passed it’s just gotten harder.
She’s always been dependent on other to do things for her, even when she was fully able to do them on her own. But after my grandfather died when I was 10, it got worse.
She became really dependent, yelled at mw, cussed me out, became very critical, yet oblivious to who I was as an evolving person. Just angry, so she always lashed out on me because she can’t treat anybody else that way. At 14, I was responsible for paying her bills online and doing chores because “she payed the cost to be the boss”. I remember I cut my hair one time and she called me ugly. Throughout college I still had to pay bills on top of her controlling demeanor when I came home for summers.
She’s kicked me out twice but allowed me to return. Once for being “disrespectful”…she wanted to argue but I ignored her so she kicked me out. The second time because I didn’t get food from her friends house, she blatantly told me she couldn’t eat anyway. All because I said no.
She had a fall 1 month and a half ago because she wouldn’t go to sleep when I suggested her to and fell to the floor while sleep at the dining room table.
Everyday she had me or one of my aunts come to the hospital, go to the grocery store, bring her food, toothpaste, gowns, blankets, serving her because she needs the attention and wants to feel loved (though she won’t say it out loud).
Now she’s back home and it’s even harder. She’s meaner, doesn’t ask me how I am or how my day was Ever. Complains all the time. We only talk when she asks me to do something or when she’s complaining. We don’t have a relationship at all. I don’t make a lot of money, but she never even asked me if I needed has or how I was getting back and fourth from the hospital. Knowing I suffer from anxiety and depression she hasn’t even asked me if I’m okay. Not once.
She’s mad at me all the time for not providing her needs. Cleaning her bedroom, cleaning the bathroom, washing her clothes, getting food, going to the grocery store two days back to back because she only thinks of food for that day. Washing her hair, cleaning any spot she sits cause she’s extremely messy.
All for her to tell me I’m not compassionate, mean, and I’m not doing enough. Mind you I live in a household of 4 other adults. I’m struggling.
I’m upset. I’m sad. I feel like I’ve been taking care of her my whole life. I’ve never gotten to live My life. It’s always been in servitude of her, from the very beginning. When do I get my freedom? I’m never going to get these years back. I feel imprisoned. And guilty for not wanting to be her everything. I haven’t had kids. I don’t even have a boyfriend. I’m too traumatized.
As I write this I realize she just wanted someone to take care of her all along, but I’m just one person. With my own needs I neglect. And a life I haven’t gotten a chance to live yet.
And my aunts and uncles are barely any help. Starting tasks that I have to finish. They don’t live with her, they have it easy. I’m frustrated and tired of feeling unworthy and selfish when I know I’m deserving and doing my best.
Taking care of my mom makes me not want children. Will they be this needy? Will a husband treat me this way?
Idk. I’m tired. And alone.
Jesus! No one makes any of you take care of your mother. How would you like it if she would’ve said the same thing when you were a child. And daughters especially are difficult to raise. Please don’t tell me that double standard about parents should put up with everything the kids do and then say gosh why should you have to help with your older parents. You will be there someday and you will be the same unless you’re lucky. My grandparents and grandparents before them lived in the non-Internet age with less social support. It was natural for grandparents in the past to live with their children/cousins, etc. and die in those homes. There was no social or financial support or home to stick people in during those times. But they learned to pull together and that is what the human race should do. They were better people for it my grandparents and great grandparents said. It was hard but the whole family and I mean cousins and everything would be in on it, because they knew they all would be there Sunday and it was an obligation and a thank you for taking care of them. It seems to me like today’s generation has the Internet to pitch on so much, that they feel they’re giving away a part of their life that they wouldn’t have if not for the very people they are griping about. I feel sorry for you guys if you are so unhappy because if I was your mom I wouldn’t want you around me. It would be better to take that much cruelty and insensitivity from someone you don’t know. If you feel guilty that is your problem. Grow up. Because in your mind you’re already abandoned your parent by saying they drive you nuts. And if I wasn’t a Christian woman I would say I wish you could experience exactly how lonely they feel and how sad it is to have your body betray you, but I won’t. You will pay your karma however it happens. You’re being hypocritical by taking care of someone and feeling so horrible and talking to other people like you do. You have absolutely no idea of what it’s like for your parent to feel like they do when they can’t even understand themselves. Educate yourself for god sake read an effing book on aging, Alzheimer’s, post menopausal behavior, etc. or better yet be honest as a human being and just take a step back. No one is making you do this in caring for an aging parent(s). You want to be looked at as somebody who’s doing a good thing and all you’re telling me is that you’re an embarrassment yourself. I’m so disappointed in what I’ve read on this page that I can’t hardly stand it. What if your parents had treated you like this when you were a kid don’t tell me that kids don’t have problems that can go beyond the normal. It’s not two different things. Gosh sorry I just have to quit because this is so depressing from you guys, not a word of thanks or love for these parents. Just a of course I love them which is as good as saying you really don’t care. Here’s my best advice if you can’t feel compassionate and learn how to balance your life, and yes it’s hard I know because I’ve done it, I’ve worked in elderly care and I love the elderly because they have a lot to share. Life is hard duh, but we can’t deal with that and go on and enjoy the happy moments and pleasures that we can experience . The latest generations of Americans are an embarrassment to the past Americans of this country as far as their attitudes towards the elderly and disabled. To those who are understanding Without patting themselves on the back kudos, but none of you fit that and I’m sorry for you. Thank you for listening to my opinion, God bless you and your parents whoever you’re taking care of at this time.
I’m so sorry, but ever since you became an adult, your resentment and misery is 100% your responsibility, even if there was trauma in your childhood. It is your responsibility to set boundaries with your mother. Faced with homelessness, your mother would have been forced to either grow up and take care of herself or die if you had said no to her from the beginning. I will never, ever allow my mother to live with me, ruin my life, or impact my marriage like this. I will never take care of her at my expense. She will have to figure it out for herself if I am to enjoy my own life.
For Leona. Looking after an elderly person in your home can be very challenging – even if you relationship with them has been good. It can go on for months if not years and if you also have a family to look after, a full time job, it can be completely exhausting. You say that you have worked in elderly care but when you work in elderly care you go home at the end of the day and you have a break from it, when you look after an elderly relative in your home you never have a break, from morning until the end of the day and even during the night you are at that person’s beck and call. Their behaviour isn’t always reasonable, it can be downright difficult – a toddler except 5 times the size.
And if you had a bad relationship, just because it is your parent doesn’t mean you necessarily have to love them unconditionally, not all parents are good parents, they can be cruel, narcissistic, negligent – you don’t have to be grateful for bad parents just because they are your parents. If you choose to take the responsibility for looking after them when they need you, you are a true hero, you need support not judgement so that you can carry on without breaking down.
Many people on here from what I’ve read are looking after their parents because they feel it’s their duty, they struggle on a daily basis, from exhaustion, depression, demoralisation. Maybe they could find alternatives, maybe there aren’t any – certainly for me there aren’t. They struggle daily with guilt over how they feel – and feelings don’t make you a good or bad person, they make you human. If you feel angry, you feel angry and if you feel sad, you feel sad. What I see here is people who have bottled these feelings up for so long being able to express how they feel without being judged and to know that there are others who are also struggling.
Have some empathy, the saying that you “can’t understand somebody until you have walked a mile in their shoes”is very true. What I find depressing is not people finally being able to express their desperation with their situation but people judging those who they don’t know and whose situations and relationships they have never experienced.
Proves what I have come to believe 100%: women should stop having children.
“Leona” is a goddess. The rest – schmucks. “Leona” states: :I feel sorry for you guys if you are so unhappy because if I was your mom I wouldn’t want you around me. It would be better to take that much cruelty and insensitivity from someone you don’t know. If you feel guilty that is your problem. Grow up. Because in your mind you’re already abandoned your parent by saying they drive you nuts.”
I agree. I don’t want my offspring around me, knowing how “hard” it is. I’d rather die on the floor eaten by termites.
I knew a woman very well whose mother had placed herself in a long-term care facility well before she needed it. She paid every outrageous cent for it. Her very successful daughter complained about “having” to see her – a 20 minute car ride, too – even a couple times a month, and this same woman writes about how wonderful her mother was, on the internet and elsewhere. Her mother could not have made it easier for her.
So – “Anonymous” – you getting any life insurance when your mother dies? There may still be time to get a policy – you know, to make your trials and tribulations all worthwhile. Just do her a favor if she is still alive – leave her alone.
my parents made sure I had no love interest so that I could stay this Family’s Golden Cage doing all I have to do so that they can live while I am dying . People who say they are religious, or act like they are a family while suffocating me with their issues . dont people say that ” we should take care of ourselves first before caring for others”, isnt there a saying “ALL LIVES MATTER” ..They know exactly what they have done by not asking others to help, by not helping themselves when they could, they knew what they were doing to pick me as the family free labourer , caregiver ( they hate the latter word)
I want to die first so that my Family sees how it was All Dumped on me.
It is not about the money to me, it is about a life. I watch my parents pay strangers to do what I do for them for free. I dont hate them for that, it is Up to God to make others pay their dues. I have more than paid my dues. My siblings want to act like I do nothing, same as my parents, for they will fear that they will have to pay me the way they pay others. 3 hours dont go by where I dont have to do something for them . To ensure that I am not taken for granted, I take pictures &record .
I dont want money, for money will NEVER Give me my decades back, Money will Never “thank you for helping us”.. If I was offered money and took it, my siblings or parents would say “SEE YOU WANT MONEY” .. there is different levels of caregivers, those that have a life, those that have sacrificed it all .
I could never have someone help me to the point that they have no more dreams left. I mostly help my mother, but that is the same thing as helping my father and siblings. because I have to do work that my siblings or father will not do for my mother .
why is One life more important than another.
THERE IS ELDER ABUSE..but there is also ELDERS WHO ABUSE .
these type of elders dont want to go to a home , they dont want to spend their own money, they also know what will happen in a home, because they can not Abuse a Nurse the way Elders are Allowed to Abuse their Own Blood
I would really like to know what percentage of Family-Caregivers are the daughters and how many are the sons .
My parents Never took care of their parents, heck they dont take care of each other and have USED ME my Whole life…they like they love me to lure me to the home base, then they basically do whatever they have to do to Use me . What I wanted for my life, I can’t have anymore, All I want Is to Die.
Let me fall on the sword so that it is known that I have been driven to the end of the cliff. People watch but do not care, they sit with wives and kids, while I was Manipulated into this position.
Then there is the Black Sheep Syndrome . If you have been treated poorly , or unloved, unwanted, it mentally puts you in a position of wanting to “keep trying to get the love from that parent”.
so some of us Stay and help because we think “I can be loved if I do this and that”, but it just leads to more Pain. the more you are around doing things the more you will be Used.
My parents dont want to bother the other siblings , they dont want to look like a burden, so they Use One and then Gaslight me to make it look like Im crazy, when I am basically doing 20 different jobs a day
I have Zero Life..this writer has 10 friends, I have had to get rid of All of my friends because I didn’t want people to see what was going on, I have friends who told me that I am being abused, that I have no respect for my own life
Me and my Siblings, there is No Compassion, there is no Splitting of services
I weigh 30 lbs less than all my siblings, men and I do the heavy work
when we argue because I am Physically pushed beyond a Human Level.
My father all the Sudden Cares for his Wife when he didn’t care for her for 60+ years.
he never cared to care for her until now when he sees that she might go first and he wants to disperse money in the end based on who he likes, NOT WHO HELPED
I have been hit by my siblings, my father, and my mother creates so much chaos if I dont do what she wants and how, she basically orders a “hit on me”
the one that is around do all the work, or most of the work is the one that gets the hate .
My parents Never Think “What My daughter is doing for Us, No One will Do for Her”
I never got a chance to have my own life. everytime I had a potential life partner my Parents would start to see that I would get Pulled away from being their servant and they would have to find someone else to help them.
I just dont see a life for myself anymore, congratulations, I was Born , I lived so that I could take care of 2 people. even though I care for 1 parent, the other parent profits by never caring for his wife and he has all his time as a bachelor.
I ended up becoming my mothers husband, doing all the things he Vowed to do for her
Only reason im writing this, is because one day someone in my family will find this , I will leave my legacy written or told, that I was Born to Sacrifice my life to care for others
I dont hate my parents, if I did I would of abandoned them, I hate the fact that all these people in the family and they sit back and watch that I had a life until my 30’s , I hate the way they think it is ok to dump all on me. they come and eat, they come to be entertained and pretend that this is a family,
but im basically Cinderella on my hands and Knees talking to the Mice in their house, while the Siblings go out dancing and laughing at me
I do not hate the people, I hate being used
what am I supposed to do, just go along my merry way and get calls cus she got hit, or get a call cus they are in the hospital cus they burnt down a house or fell down and broke bones or a neck
I hate how people act like they are a God fearing, united family while they watch one person sacrifice , suffer and want to die
isnt there a saying “All lives matter” ….why doesn’t my life matter
Echoing MarianDavis and Julie who were upset by the callousness expressed in a self-indulgent rant by a daughter who is “good” in her own mind—an anonymous coward, free to embellish her mother’s failings, reducing her to a cartoon. Too bad you can’t just euthanize the old bag like you can a pet, yeah, Anon?
I’ve been on both sides of the mom problem: daughter to an alcoholic mom who was diagnosed at 35 with a rare genetic disorder that greatly contributed to destroying her physical and emotional health, and as a mom (widowed) on the receiving end of my only child’s indifference and cruelty. Not a day goes by that I don’t think of my mom, and wish I’d understood what it’s like to inhabit a diseased body, struggling to get out of bed each day, in constant pain 24/7. Alone.
I sure understand now because my body is failing, and I’m all alone. I would give anything if I could tell my mom, “I’m sorry my hedonist brother abandoned you; I’m sorry I wasn’t around more for you; for not understanding the hell you endured. I’m sorry for my impatience and frustration that I did little to hide. I’m sorry for making you feel you were a burden. I’m sorry for becoming frustrated when you could no longer go to restaurants because the food would pass right through you. More than anything else, I’m sorry for accusing you of lying about being too ill to come to the Mother’s Day brunch I’d planned for you three months before you died. Throughout your life, you often used ill health excuses to bow out of social events. You weren’t lying that time. A disc had disintegrated in your back. You never walked again. I imagine you despised me very much at that point. And rightly so. You could still speak, but had no words for me.”
My daughter told me last night I was a burden; a pain in the ass. Yes, Julie, Karma is a thing. To all of you applauding Miss Anon here: you’ll get old sooner than you ever thought possible. Good luck with your kids—especially those on SSRIs long-term. My daughter’s been on that empathy-killer for 20 years. Our relationship is a gas.
Bless you for writing this desperately needed article. 😇🙏 And THANKYOU to all the brave & honest caregivers who responded with their own stories.🤗☺
I’ve gained some invaluable insights from the reader’s comments as well as from the main article & its just what I need at this point in time – currently at a critical stage with my 82yr old abusive, mentally ill, hoarder Aunty – I’m the only person left in the family who will speak to her, noone else will have anything to do with her so I’m burdened with it all.
I signed her up with a local Senior Citizens & she has a whole team of people helping her…BUT SHE WON’T HELP HERSELF 🤯😵
Multiple house cleaners have quit because of her ongoing hoarding & filthy living habits. Even professional “squalor cleaners” stopped returning our calls after a few jobs – its too much for even professionals to handle. 🤮🤢
I understand hoarding is a complex mental health condition but I can’t help feeling seething resentful at how she undermines everybody’s hard work. 🤬😤 I give so much of my time & energy & free labour but it all feel like a fruitless waste of time. 😭
Having read everybody’s comments, I feel my situation would only worsen if I were to go ahead with previous plans to move in with her – I’d only end up being more angry & resentful than ever & that’d be bad for us both. 🥵
I feel she steals enough of my time & energy already, I don’t think I could cope with any more than the 2-3days per week she takes from me already. I’ve got a family of my own + my own parents are both aged & ill & they could use my help rather than this ungrateful Aunty who is not even a blood relative, just aunt by marriage.
Thank you so much, I felt so alone and disgusted with myself for the terrible feels of anger and resentment I have towards my 94 year old mother who has been living with us for the past 5 years. As a child my mother was never home, she did not work, but was going to school and hanging out with her friends (she was in her 40’s)not sure what she did with her time. I would come home to an empty house, I was molested by family member for years and she had no idea. I’m tired, my husband and I have raised our children and were looking forward to it just being the two of us, but I think she will outlive use both……..
Thank you so much for this article! I felt so identified with all that I could have written this myself (but in Spanish which is my mother language).
The most difficult part of all this is the mixed feelings of anger, sadness, and guilt.
I used to admire my mother so much and now we have so few things in common. It’s an effort for me to be with her and it’s very difficult for me to even hug her. Of course, feelings of shame flooded into me.
It’s so good to see that I’m not alone (even as I am in the other part of the world, Argentina), that these feelings are so human.
Hi Gabriela: this is exactly why we wrote this piece. We all feel ashamed and yet these feelings are natural. This is not an easy thing to do. You are a wonderful daughter for even trying.
I wish I had my mother back to take care of. I never expected her to be anything other than who she was, even after the strokes that left her more distant and meaner. I’m no saint, and my childhood was far from perfect, but I loved her for all of her imperfectness. I pray I never made her feel like a burden, because even though life can be a burden, she never was. I feel honored to have been a part of guiding her through her old age and eventual death as lovingly as I could, doing what I could to bring a little happiness and comfort into her life. Getting old is terrifying. Not being able to take care of yourself anymore is terrifying. Relying on others for survival is terrifying. The loneliness of old age is dark and smothering, and having death looming over your shoulder, knowing your life is coming to an end, that you won’t “be” anymore, be anything ever again, what a horrifying thing to have to live with. Although I understand the feelings expressed in the article and the comments, I can’t help but wish I could take all of these precious mommas and care for them myself.
I know one day when she finally dies, I will feel remorse for saying I really really dislike my domineering, bossy, cold fish, unloving, unappreciative hag of a mother. I may even feel guilty at her funeral that I ever even thought these things. Probably cry even, and all that. But I also know I will breathe a huge sigh of relief. The hugest sigh imaginable. Because I’ll finally be free of her.
I laughed at the comments adminishing those people likecme who can’t stand their mothers, hate caring for them, etc., saying “One day you’ll get old and no one will care for you!” WRONG. I have made provisions for MY old age. I have PLANNED financially for it. I will never ever need to depend on my children for ANYTHING. My horrid mother never had a thought for anyone but herselg, made stupid choices with her money and her husband , my abusive alcoholic dad. Spare me the weeping violins and admonitions. I don’t owe her a thing.
Having just returned home (over 500 miles round trip) from dealing with the practicalities of my mother’s life, I took to my bed for 24 hours.
She is a 90 year old with dementia who only wants/ has, me.
I have a brother, bless, who is ‘loving’ but never ever visits. He lives 20 miles away and has a family of females taking care of his needs.
I have raised 2 sons (5 grandchildren) singly, on a poor income, but have managed well through skill, personal strength and practice.
Being 70 now, all my strengths are weakened and have recently, upon a friends advice, have realised a life of tumbling through has been driven by lack of executive function.
So my question is – is the reason why some of us struggle with the role of caring for a demanding, controlling and angry mother is not only because we are stuck with a continuing role but more difficult because of the way we are hardwired – nothing we can hope to change.
Hi Annie: I think we can always change. No matter what age you are. You are doing an incredibly hard job. A job no one prepared us for. I do believe some of us are hardwired to care more than others. You might find some help by checking in with a local caregiving group or socialworker. You could get some ideas on how to handle this so you can feel better yourself. Thanks for leaving a comment.
I cant say how comforting it has been to read these comments and the blog. I just cant say right now….
Awesome. This is a hard road. We understand. Take care
I can’t stand my mother. After the death of my father 2 years ago this bat crazy shit stain doesn’t remember anything from after she married my father. She blocked out the death of my brother and now blocked out the death of my father and it seems my entire existence. Due to life I recently moved in with her. She doesn’t have dementia or Alzheimer’s. She lives in her repressed memory bubble in her own world. So fucking annoying but I’ve decided if she’s not gonna remember me I’m changing my name in her presence and I’ll pretend I’m not related. It’s working out great for me.
Hi Lorna. I’m sorry to hear all this. But changing your name is great idea. These are difficult times.
Good thing mom didn’t feel that way about raising you, and gave you away. This is what you are doing to your mom in your head. Wishing she was gone forever. To much trouble. Parents mean nothing to their children any more. A bunch of spoiled brats, that think they should have everything you have got, and now. So die so they can get it. Parents are your burden unless you already moved out of town, so you aren’t bothered by them. May God forgive you. Selfish children.
My mother turned 82. She got old. She was fine and active until a year ago and then my father died. She pretended she had it all together and then once he was gone her emotional needs could never be met. She was privileged and was kept the entire 60 years they were together. Now she can’t even function without him. She shovels shit into her mouth on a daily basis using food as a form of comfort…meanwhile her cognitive decline speeds up, she becomes more unhealthy, angry, bitter, and neurotic. She wonders why everyone has stopped calling her and visiting her. My siblings and I are doing everything we can to satiate her emotional needs but I’ve begrudgingly come to the conclusion that its a bottomless pit. I came across this site in an effort to learn how to best serve her as well as learn to detach from her toxic negativity. I never thought much about women’s empowerment before but now I get it. It’s horrifically sad to be submissive to a man and then once he’s gone you don’t even know who you are. Then you’re angry and pissed off about your emptiness but you got too old and its too late. I love my mom alot but wow, its pathetically sad to watch what she’s become and rapidly turning into.
HI Rick: yes. One of the issues with women being constantly dependent on another human being and not being totally formed or independent on their own is what happens when that support disappears. This is why we at CoveyClub want all women to take their financial and emotional support in hand and own it in their 40s,50s,60s and beyond so this doesn’t happen. Your kids should not have to fill the gap for this old-fashioned dependency-type of relationship. The patriarchy was great for the men but left many women infantalized. Thanks for acknowledging your new point of view.
Franziska C Hanson
I have a bad deal or worse, my stepmom moved in with me because her sight is getting bad, and my siblings disowned her when my dad passed 23 years ago. Well, she says she can’t get her meds, she can’t get her stuff to drink, she can’t put her plates in the sink, she sits in the living room with only a depend on, she’ll go to the bathroom on the floor, but she’ll go to a bar and play slot machines for 10 hours or more. I told her after she was in here over 10 hours and straight lied to me I was never bringing her again. She’s trying to play guilt trip on me but I’m too mad for it to work. She is and always has been very selfish and self-centered. What do I do?
Hi Franziska: We would suggest you find a group near by or online where you can discuss this problem. Sounds like your stepmother is not respecting all you do for her. You should seek professional guidance on how to handle this situation. We’re sorry this is so difficult.
Franziska C Hanson
I’m wore out, I lost my husband of 19 years 3 years ago, my step mom moved in with me, every time I talk about him she tell me to stop thinking about him and get on with my life, she tells me she forgot about my dad after he passed, I flat out told her there was a big difference between her and me, I have a big caring heart where hers is cold and selfish. That may be mean but totally true. My health isnt good. I’m losing my hair from stress, I get about 2 hours sleep a night because she’ll wake me up about midnight to feed her for the 10 time, and when I get woke up I can’t go back to sleep. I just don’t know what to do. Any large hearted people out there have any ideas. Thanks for listening Fran
You think your 92 year old mother has the capacity to control her behavior all the time? You think this won’t happen to you? Karma, baby. What a strain on love.
You know, if you said you needed more support, I’d have understood. It’s too much for one person. But, the fact you loved your mother when you were young but now, let’s face it, hate her at 92? I don’t care if she is demanding. You are an adult and just do what you can. I can’t image what it feels like to raise a daughter, think you have love between each other, grow old then elderly, and have that daughter you loved, and who once said she loved you, hate her. You’re going to allow her die thinking you hate her, and it is probably very confusing for her.
You see you in the future when you look at her. It’s so sad to die knowing the love you thought you once had from your own child is gone because the child cannot grow up.
Thank you for this article and all of your comments. All of you have saved me this morning as I am typing this in tears, recognizing that I am not a terrible person for the recognition that I need to set boundaries. I am in the early stages of taking care of my mother, whose husband of 35 years passed 6 months ago. She is suffering from vertigo (can’t find the cause) and has deep depression, anxiety, and panic attacks since I was a young girl. I have spent the past week immersed in this and it is breaking me. I’ve had to clean her up and dress her. She cries and panics constantly. Her fears consume her, especially if she is ill. Three years ago I thought I was finally embarking on a time in my life when I could focus on me- taking hikes, hobbies, etc- as I am still working full time in a very demanding job. COVID hit and my husband got very ill. I assumed the caretaker role. My college aged children were having a tough time and I was focused on their well being. Then, my almost senior in HS suffered a bout of depression and we have now arrived at a really good place. Then this hit. I just don’t know if I can do it. Reading all of your comments helps immensely. I have spent my whole like wishing my mother would have been strong enough to take care of me. She is not. She is not the anchor of the family. I am. And I resent it. I resent having to take on that role because my mother was weak. That is the word I’ve been searching for. It is such a simple concept that I really didn’t think about until I read it today. I resent caring for her because she never cared for me the way I needed to be cared for and loved. She did the best she could but I’ve have never been able to say to anyone- it wasn’t enough! Spot on with what I am feeling as I struggle with going over to see her today or taking a walk. I think I need to take the walk, but the guilt and worry consumes me.
Glad this very honest assessment of what we go through was helpful. A walk will definitely help.
This was so helpful, thank you! My mom is only 78 but has not lived alone in 8 years. Thankfully, she is able to afford to live in an independent living community which is a lifesaver, but she still pretty much controls my life. I’m good at boundaries but when she falls and has to go to the ER or spend weeks in rehab, then all balance is destroyed.
My mom had a career that moved her away to a different city and she came home on the weekends. Obviously, that wasn’t going to end well so my parents divorced and she spent the next 20 years pretty much focused on herself. I didn’t want to be anything like her so I got my education and career but walked away from it when we had kids. I poured my life into my children for 15 years before going back to work part time. Now I am 58 with grandchildren (#5 on the way) and a horse hobby, in addition to a part time job that I love….. but my mom’s needs still dictate my life. She has memory issues and can’t keep up with her health appointments, medication, finances, etc. I have resented her so much for being so incredibly needy (getting calls about everything from “I’m constipated and you need to do something about it” to “I have diarrhea and you need to do something about it”, to “I’ve fallen and i can’t get up”). I have PTSD every time she calls at an unusual time. My mom did not help when her mother was going through this stage because she was too busy chasing her career on the other side of the state while her younger sister did all the heavy lifting with my grandmother. Now, it all just makes me sick.
I’ve made progress with my attitude because I choose not to live a miserable life, but sometimes the grief, anger, resentment, sadness, etc. come along suddenly and it’s so hard. Your article made me laugh and it reminded me that I’m not alone. Thank you for the encouragement and validation.
I too have been the child who had been groomed to take care of my mom. She was always self absorbed when I was a child. As an example, she actually asked me to stop talking on occasion while she was scanning the restaurant for a man who might be noticing her. She was always a beauty. She said my sister was the beauty and I was “beautiful on the inside” with a chuckle. I could go on and on with examples.
Interesting that as she is aging she has been very complimentary about my looks. Either feeling guilty or just getting close because of the position she has groomed me for. Always said she “prayed for me” before she got pregnant and I was her gift from God. I see now it’s because she actually believes I was born to take care of her.
So now I’m almost 70 and she is almost 100. My sibs see her rarely and mom depends on me exclusively. Why am I feeling guilty for not wanting this to continue. I get angry at her and myself, and tell her rarely that the family needs to talk about getting someone to take her to appointments and shopping etc. which is met with silence from all…and punishment from mom (she refuses to answer my calls or texts etc.) as a martyr mother maneuver (grew up with that).
So…finding this site and reading every post was just the thing I needed. I do realize that aging isn’t fun but guess what…we all are going there which makes each day a gift to make the most of. Being kind and compassionate doesn’t obligate you to a life of feeling manipulated by anyone…even your parent.
I have a lot to be thankful for…and yes having her living so long has given us an opportunity to know each other as adults. It’s my option how much time and energy I spend with mom and resentment and guilt are my issues, not hers.
So today I will remember the good things I do for mom and not dwell on how I disappoint her for not doing more. Pursuing my goals and love life and only doing things for mom that are out of love and not guilt. Tougher than it sounds apparently!
Thanks for your honest thoughts both pro and con about this emotional issue…it helped me a lot!
Going through this awfulness with my husband’s parents. Neither of them were caregivers to their parents; they both had siblings who took on those responsibilities. They never had a clue what it is to make a burden of oneself on their children. Instead, they made no effort to care for themselves, becoming increasingly helpless. They lived like children, squandering their money on any junk they felt like buying, having no savings or investments on which to retire. They eat nothing but junk food, they do nothing but sit in front of the TV, every home they lived in for the last 20 years became increasingly filthy as they gave up on even the most basic efforts to pick up after themselves. They also smell bad, having abandoned normal hygiene. They’re not senile, though they’ve let their minds grow dull and unlively.
They expected my husband and me to take care of them. While we were willing to shuffle them to various appointments (and oh how they just love to see doctors as often as they can!), do their grocery shopping, and do things like change lightbulbs, install grab bars, and the more usual things adult children do for their aging parents, neither of us was willing to clean up after them, or act like their servants. Finally too physically infirm to live independently, it was time to pack them off to a nursing home.
While they indicated we should’ve been willing to modify our home to allow them to move in, we were not going to allow dirty, smelly, lazy, ungrateful, combative, irresponsible parents to make ruin of our home and our lives. The nursing home options available to them are bleak; we found the best possible option we could. It’s not how my husband or I would want to end up in our old age, but then, that’s why we take care of ourselves fiscally, physically, nutritionally, intellectually, and socially. We are planning for as healthy and wealthy and active an old age as we can. We want to be blessings to our children and future grandchildren, and to be remembered with love and affection, not revulsion and resentment.
I consider our fiduciary responsibilities to help them to be fully discharged. We did what we could to help two people who refused to help themselves.
After reading the article and the comments, it is a relief to know that I am not alone with feeling frustrated, sad, depleted, tired, and guilty. My mom moved in with us over three years ago and some days I wish she hadn’t. I feel like I am the “good daughter” while my sibling does nothing to help in any way. As she ages, I find it difficult to hear the same stories and complaints over and over. As her memory fades, it makes me sad. I struggle with taking care of her and feeling like my life is on hold and then feeling guilty for wanting to be free when she passes. It’s a difficult journey and it is not a burden I want my children to carry when it’s my turn. So often, money dictates the care that one gets, a sobering reality.
Hi Jackie: we hear you loud and clear. No one wants to feel this way. Our parents didn’t want this either. No one had a plan. We need to plan for our kids. Exactly the point.
Man I feel you on resentment and anger. My mom is quite capable of doing almost ANYTHING she WANTS to do. Ie: she cant get herself a drink, but the other night despite it causing extreme pain in her shoulders, she toddled to the kitchen with her walker and fixed herself cheesecake. It’s a constant battle to get her to move for herself. She is early stages of dementia so short term memory is shot. Which is not an issue. But she’s very impulse driven and always has been. So despite being asked not to do, eat, take something if she wants it, she’s doing, eating or taking it. End of story. I’ve been caring for her and my dad, until her died last year, for four years. I have a sister but she doesn’t split any financial support and she helps occasionally but gets to use the excuse of kids to be “busy” a lot. I’m beyond burned out. Like to the point I feel like an empty husk of a person. I’ve got nothing left for anyone not even myself. The house is constantly a mess. I have more urine soaked laundry and trash and chores than I can count. And all I ever hear from my sister is “every adult has chores” but it’s more than that. My mom is oxygen dependent too. She also habitually just puts her oxygen on her chin, head, around her neck. She also, despite my reminding her for four years about it, NEVER watches her oxygen cord. So I spend every waking hour checking constantly if she’s wearing her oxygen, monitor her when she’s walking, changing her bed, cleaning up whatever she’s dropped, smeared, or dripped from her body, hands, Walker tray. And there is no end. It feels like she’s sucking the life from me and somehow improving her health somewhat but still has no interest in doing for herself. It’s all just so exhausting. And there is no escape. Pretty sure she’s gonna kill me way before she ever dies. Anyhow bottom line is I feel ya lol. Caregiving is not for the faint of heart, my grama used to say that about getting old. Both pretty much suck! 😂
As a son, I hate seeing my parents age, become fragile and lose independence. It hurts to see this happening in these ones i so very much love.
How do i overcome pride issues of seeing my elderly mother naked to bathe her.. I mean I know she feels shame and while i love her dearly i don’t want to see her naked. its just something i have to get past. Im just venting.
Wonderful to have you vent. Yes, that could be uncomfortable. You might want to check in with a local social worker and ask how to handle the bathing issue. Lovely that you are there for your mother.
The title of this article is all wrong. It should be ” Rotten Daughters” who are very disrespectful to Good Mothers”
May life and your ending be the same.
My biggest worry is that my own adult children will feel this way towards me when I am 80 not 60! I love them dearly. But I wasn’t a perfect mother. I think I tried to be friends with my daughter. As my husband was emotionally unavailable to me. I’ve done my best to become her cheerleader instead of a burden as I’ve slowly understood the damaging dynamics in our relationship. Will my natural decline as I age infuriate her like my mother ignites my anger.
My question after reading this is, is there another way? Does it have to be like this?
We think talking about these issues early on with your children is a good start. Talk about your fears and that you know you were not perfect. Make sure you have some arrangements so you are somewhat able to care for yourself if you can. But it starts with talking now.
My mom is 87. I lived with her all my life im now 60. Me and her I thought had always been close. Always thought friends till she got old past two years and she just basically sat in a chair and never wanted to do another thing. Ever. She admited to me she bought me things so I would take care of her when she got old. Like a payment. I never knew that things I thought she did cause she wanted to was just for a payment later on in taking care of her. I cook for her I clean I wash her cloths. I shake my head as she refuses to eat half the food I cook or when she does eat it has theatrics about how it made her sick, how it makes her throw up or had she just wont eat it. She likes to ask for the hardest foods to cook like fried chicken, turkey dinners and fried fish all i found out she hated but would ask me to cook it for her cause she knew it was hard to cook and time consuming. The joke was on her though cause I wouldnt cook nuffin else and she either ate that or at nuffin. I now promptly freeze stuff like that and when she starts with the i want some fish or something i just microwave it and give it to her and then go eat something i want. My doc told me when she does that she just dont have to eat. Other thing is she talkes. she litereally will talk 24 hours of the day. She will sing, complain, talk, complain about me, complain about her imaginary kids, cats, dogs, and whatever else she thinks of. She insists me and my brother are married and that she has more kids then she does. She calls her imaginary daughter my name and then told me to change my name. I know might sound funny but its very hurtful to me. And thats the other thing she dont care she hurts me, and she delibertly tries to make me cry. She has said she knows she does this on purpose she dont know why an then no apology nuffin. She pretends she cant hear me so i have to speak up when i speak up she says im yelling at her i try to explain to her im not yelling at her but she cant seem to hear me and she says what you saying so i talk louder and she starts critizing me, whats wrong with you why you doing that im not deaf you know. So after a few episodes of that i try to avoid her which is sad cause its the last thing i want to do but she makes it impossible. She throws me out about once every few months tells me to leave get out and i remind her if i did she would end up in a nursing home for sure. That makes her doubly mad at me and then she tells me ill end up in one and i said i probably will someday as i have no other family that would really want to help me in anyway. People die of covid but i feel like im dying of my mother. She makes me feel horrible guilty and she has told me if she dies its going to be my fault. I have tried to laugh about it and sometimes that works but when she goes for the personal hurt the personal attack the personal put down just cause she thinks she has the right to……sometimes i think maybe i will just walk out that door and never look back. I love her but when is love not enough and its hard to live with her knowing she actually really hates me. I do have two brothers on says im married and me and my wife cant be involved so good luck to you and the other one just works all the time says he has to to pay the bills in the house. So its just me and mom and we probably both very unhappy and probably will be till she dies.
In Pain: We hear you. You are not alone. We are sorry for your situation.
You have no idea how much this article made me feel not so alone. Thank you!!!!
Exactly the point. Thanks Julia for reading.
Thank you so kuchen for taking the time to write this. I felt like this was almost written for me personally. It has been so helpful to understand the reason for my resentment and anger.
As you suggested I am going to try to allow my vulnerabilities surface rather than the anger and I am setting boundaries for myself. I have realised that my mother manipulates me at times. I am lucky that my own home with husband and children is like my sanctuary to where I can escape and switch off.
Wishing everyone well with their own personal challenges.
I’m sorry to say but your story angered me,
This is your creator you’re slagging off here,
The only person on this planet that has loved you unconditionally from the moment your eyes opened until the moment she passes,
And when that moment comes you will regret posting this,
ALL carers know precisely what you’re going through, and most I would say even more so.
You are struggling to cope we get it, we all are, but we know WHY we do what we do and we know that it’s the right thing to do,
Yes, it sucks, it’s mental torture at times, but it’s not HER fault.
You do whatever you have to do to get your own life in order so that you are able to cope better with the situation you are in, but you NEVER, under any circumstances whatsoever bad mouth your mother again, that line you should never cross!
Learn to cope, and if you are unable to handle it, do what’s right for HER, not you or anybody else.
Learn to breathe when she triggers you,
Learn ways to change her mindset, things that make her happier, music, good memories, etc, let her know everything is fine, great even, make HER happy!
You still work so I consider you a part-time carer at best,
If your job is too much to handle alongside caring, speak to your boss, maybe its time to go part-time and try to learn to enjoy your mother whilst she is still here,
Yes, you probably have bills to pay or have a million other excuses like my sister had NOT to help,
You can get help to get through this period if you look hard enough,
It’s miserable being a carer and other carers will always support you,
Just stop cussing your mother out that’s your first step to becoming a better person!
When you next see her tell her how amazing she is and tell her why!
I’m sorry but you deserved this.
I totally hear your point, as I am facing the exact situation you describe in the article. A Mother who never worked has no idea what is like to be busy in life.
I am helping care for my Mother but Thank God I travel A LOT.
Otherwise I could not do it.
My Mother is Bossy, Needy, Demanding and Self absorbed. I am the happiest when I travel away from her.
Mothers and Fathers are NOT perfect.
They are human beings like any other.
So do not make them out to be Gods that we should be joyful to care for.
I had no Children of my own and if I did I would not subject them to the amount of needy manipulation some elderly parents subject their children too.
We have a life to life and they already lived theirs. My Mother for example depends on everyone that surrounds her so she can have the same life she had 20 years ago. No maids make it past 6 months working for her because she is needy as heck.
Who the hell enjoys filling requests every single minute of the day for someone who acts helpless unless her personal interest is stake.
Come on. Let’s be real. Being a Parent does NOT make you a perfect human being.
Just because you put “good” in the title doesn’t mean you are. Seems like you’re trying to convince yourself. Reassuring self assessment maybe. Loser.
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