Monday, November 11, 2013

Adjusting To Living With Mom

Adjusting to having my Mom come to live with us has not been easy for
any of us, especially not for me.  Let me make myself very clear ~ I 
love my Mom very much, but she is in no stretch of the imagination an
easy going person.  One of the last things one of Mom's closest friends 
said to me before we left Idaho is "I love your Mom but she can be
quite difficult and demanding.  Stand your ground".  

Not an easy thing to do.

Unfortunately Mom believes that the world revolves around her.
This morning I had the sad task of informing her that my aunt and her sister
(and only sibling) went back into the hospital for yet more spinal 
compression fractures.  Mom's response was oh that's too bad.  I will
send some flowers.  Then she switched topics and spent the next
thirty minutes discussing her own aches and pains.   Mom is so 
competitive.  I will listen politely for a while but when I try to change
the subject to something more cheerful, she gets mad at me and sulks
for hours.

I even hate to bring this up, but I am at my wit's end.  A couple of days
will go by and we will get along quite well and then she is upset with me
once again.  This is not a new issue.  We have had this type of relationship
in the past.  She wants something, and if she does not get it immediately in
her time frame, then she is unhappy.  For example, a few years ago she 
wanted an artificial topiary.  She had me run all over town trying to find one
for her at the price she was willing to pay.  When I finally found one at 
Michael's and delivered it to her, she was fine and happy for a couple of
days.  Then I get a phone call that she had decided she hates  it and wants
 me to come right over with a saw and cut it into three different sections.
When I did not have the time to get over to her house to cut the topiary per
her schedule, she got mad, threw the topiary in the garage and sulked.

What is a daughter supposed to do?  Whatever I do is not enough.  When my
Daddy was still alive and before the Alzheimer's took over, he brought some
rationality to the picture.  Although she still sulked and carried on when she did
not get her way, he was far less tolerant and she would straighten up.  Oh how I
miss him.  He was always so sensible and intelligent.  But he's not here anymore.
My Mom is getting older and needs help.  Her eyesight has diminished because
of her macular degeneration.  We have done all we can to attempt it's further
deterioration, but it there is no cure at this time.  I have to read things for her.
I have to help her with her paperwork and explain what she cannot see for
herself.  I am happy to do this for her.  But I have another problem ~
her vanity ...
Mom is very vain.  She never passes a mirror without checking her
hair and her appearance.  Okay, I can live with that, but here is the rub.
Mom is getting to be quite deaf.  We purchased hearing aids for her.  
She seldom wears them because they interfere with her hair.  So if
someones says something she can't understand or she misunderstands,
she flies off the handle.  I am the one who gets the brunt of her anger.

Then there are the decorating issues.  When we decided to all live together
the agreement was that she would decorate the living room, dining room,
her bedroom, bath and the hallway leading to her those rooms any way
she desired.  I would be able to decorate the family room, kitchen, master
bed and bath and my little studio.  The back porch and patio were a joint
affair as would be the front entry.  We had a family meeting and all
agreed to that arrangement prior to moving to Texas.  

Once we arrived little arguments started cropping up.  As I mentioned 
before, my Mom is very competitive and she is also especially
competitive with me.  Once I started to set up the family room she 
commented that she liked what I was doing and said she wanted some
help decorating the living room.  I knew I would be walking on thin ice,
but I agreed to offer some suggestions.  Keep in mind that she is a very
nervous decorator.  She is always afraid of making a mistake.  Sadly
for her she can't relax and just do what makes her happy.  Over the years
she has spent a fortune (and I do not use that term lightly) on furniture.
Interior designers have come and gone by the dozens.  Thank goodness
Daddy had to spend a good bit of his career traveling and did not have to
witness the daily decorating drama that took place at home.

To get back to my current predicament, I agreed to help her find some
new pieces for her living room.   I spent hours on the internet looking at
antiques, book marking possibilities and showing them to her.  We
ordered several pieces that she liked and had them shipped from Georgia,
North Carolina and Virginia.  I thought everything was fine until one
day she just snapped at me and told me not to tell her what to do because
it is "her room to decorate".  I said that my suggestions were only that ~
suggestions ...
and that I only offered them at her request.  Did not matter.  She 
scolded me called me "young lady" (always in trouble when she calls
me that) and then went to her room and started throwing things in the 

I am sorry to go on like this.  I just need some help.  I know that I am too
close to the situation to be fully objective, or even objective at all.  I so
wanted this to be a good experience for us.  I hoped that we would be able
to spend her last years growing closer.  It seems like I say something or do
or not do something to upset her constantly.  I am getting so nervous now
and it's beginning to effect everything.  I snapped at David once last week
and last night too.  He does not deserve it and I don't want to be a shrew.

What I really want to do is curl up in a quilt and hide in my bed and
watch old movies.  Of course I can't do that and I know it so I
have to find some kind of an acceptable solution.   I need your help.
I have come to know so many of you and am continually awed by 
your compassion and wisdom.  I am willing to listen to any
advice you have.  I need tweaking.

I am so thankful for Bentley.  He is such a devoted little guy.
I love him so.

Big Texas Hugs,
Susan and Bentley


  1. Bless your heart, you DO have your hands full! My mother would be difficult to live with, too, just in a different way. Just a couple of thoughts -- you need regular breaks from each other. Since you're new in your area, you may not yet have a network of friends. Both of you need friends your own ages. Finally, I would suggest that your mom have a geriatric evaluation, as that was very valuable with my dad. Some of his medications needed tweaking, and my mother also got some good ideas about handling his new dementia-related behaviors. You have had a lot of transitions in recent months -- hang in there!

    1. Mom has been to the doctor. I have exhausted that avenue and her medications have been tweaked.

  2. Sorry to hear about what you're going through with your mom. I agree with Tricia that she needs to be evaluated by a geriatric doctor. I had a very difficult mother and I can remember her asking me years ago why I spoke so harshly to her and not my dad. I felt so bad I was determined to change my attitude towards her and I did. You need to find a support group to confide in and give you emotional help as well as physical help. Some things just aren't worth arguing over or thinking about. Hang in there, you're a wonderful person.

  3. I'm a rather new follower of your blog, but I just wanted to say that you are a saint for taking in your very difficult mother! It seems your patience has been worn thin by the demands of your mother who probably should have been on medication to alter her mood swings most of her life. My mother is the polar opposite of yours, but HER mother was very much like yours. If you could get her to see a therapist who could prescribe medication to alleviate her moody behavior I'm sure life would be much more pleasant for all of you. But, of course, she probably wouldn't go, so my suggestion is for you to take a class where you could meet women (maybe even in the same predicament) who can offer you support and friendship. Sometimes you just need to vent your frustration to a neutral party. I hope your situation improves.

  4. Susan, first of all, you are a SAINT for doing this. I can relate to so much of this. My mother is 86, she thinks she is 60. She tries to do things that are impossible for someone her age and ends up in a lot of pain. She is headed to the doctor today because of that. She is very alert and wise at her age. But she is mean. She has always been mean to me. She adores and worships the ground my brother walks on. He lives in Alabama and I live in Ohio. I live about 1 hour 45 minutes from her. She now thinks that it is funny to be mean to me and others because she is old. She thinks that it's her right. She was never there for me. I have been there for her through 14 surgeries in the last 8 years. Now, that's what she is like.
    I could never do what you are doing. I do think she needs an evaluation. The temper thing is concerning to me. We have had that with my husband's mother. She may also need something for depression.
    Yes, you do need time away.....but not with your husband staying home with her. Both of you. You may be able to get some home health care or an nanny for the elderly . My mother is so vain as well. So vain. The hearing aids were a problem and still are. She finally got them because my brother got mad at her. She would always say it was our fault for not talking slowly and loudly enough.
    She lives alone and drives and shops just fine. But there will come a time and I have no idea what we will do. She has leukemia (not a problem) artificial knees, rods in her legs and had a kidney removed due to cancer. When she broke her leg and had the rod inserted she was driving in 5 weeks.
    It would be nice if your mother had a separate living quarters and joined you for meals. I know that isn't possible.
    I know I am not being helpful just telling you about my mom. She is so self centered as well.
    If there was a third party (social worker?) that could help you set boundaries. But, I would tend to guess that you are too nice to do that. But you do have to take care of yourself. It's not fair to you to go through this.
    Gosh, I wish you luck. I hope if anything, you can rest assured that not all moms are like the cards at Hallmark. God Bless You.

    1. My Mom's personality is the same as it has always been. Daddy kept it in check and Mom accepted the limits from him. It is hard for me to set the same limits because she does not have the same level of respect for me.

  5. Bless your heart, you has to be patience with her I have the same problem My mom is 89 and my dad 88 some time you cant not take them out of there life for example my parent live across of my home, I have big home they don't want to live with us they have there on way of live than us so be patience my mom have three set of and shearing aids he don't use them wend you race you bois to her she tell you don't scream to me my dad all ready lost He's vision on one of his aye with glaucoma my mom on June this year has a stroke
    Thank God she is fine so far, if you able to fine one of those place for retirement house where they have emergency button tall to her and see what she said to you about you have to too think that you have a live and a HB to care, go out whist you HB and enjoy your life because your a good daughter and she not going to change her mind my parent fight with me and my brother we said oh ok no problem remember they are old and they try us to see how much we cant do for them if they see that we cant do a lot for them end they demand to us. I remember when you said that you are moving together don't agree on that because they have there on way of live be patience. my mom call me 100 time a day she live across of my home to ask me what are you doing some time I'm so busy she call me a my cell oh any way of communication she try to rich me is not easy are all.
    Hire in Miami they have places where they go and play card and Domino Bingo and they have transportation for them you need to call
    on the back of her Medicare card is a number for service call and ask what type of service they have.

  6. It sounds like your mother has a form of depression.
    She should have her vitamin D levels checked out. It won’t make her personality change but it will stop her from sobbing.

  7. I agree with others, Mom needs to have an evaluation by a geriatric doctor. You have moved to a new area this would be normal to seek a new Doctor. You cannot change your mother , unfortunately you are there and handy to take the brunt of the abuse. That is what it is. If possible you might be able to talk to your mom about this, maybe putting the blame on the stress of moving to a whole new place. I worry about the throwing things. You are doing a great thing...please seek a professional to guide you through this. Now go take Bentley for a walk.

  8. My grandmother moved in with us when I was a child, I loved her living there and we got on great but I was treated like a child and she also forgot my mother was no longer a child and had a way of making my mum feel she was not doing things right if she didn't do things the way my grandmother wanted things done.
    What my parents did was share my gran around. She had 3 homes that she spent about 4months a year at each, she liked the change of people and everyone had a break, she lived till 95 and was very healthy and happy till the end, I still miss her a lot.

  9. Oh dear -- what a situation. I'm afraid I have no advice, as I have not had to deal with this issue. But, perhaps I can give a word of encouragement. What you are doing for your mom is a gift -- whether she chooses to acknowledge it or not. I believe God will bless you specially because of your efforts, and I am going to lift you up in prayer and ask that he would guide you, and give you discernment in how to deal with your mom. I will also ask that he put people in your path to encourage you along the way -- especially those who have walked a similar path -- for their help can be invaluable! Keep on keeping on. Your willingness to be "tweaked" speaks volumes in your dedication to your mother! xo ~Sally

  10. Oh Susan, I am so sorry that you are going through this. I lost my mother when I was 21 so I didn't have that problem. However, my Aunt-in-law, I took over caring for her because my ex couldn't be bothered nor his two brothers. After all she was my son's great aunt.
    She lived in her own apartment across the street from my apartment. If I didn't call her first thing in the morning and stop by there when I came home from work - she got very moody and would hardly to talk to me. Then she got so I had t put into a Residential Apartment and she liked it very much, but I still had to call and go over at the drop of a hat. I got so I wouldn't pick up the phone. She never married and had a great career in teaching - Superintendent of the South District of Los Angeles, and she was used to getting her way. Fortunately I didn't live with her and could go to work but I know what your going through. I would take her to the Dr.
    and have them do a check up on her and her meds and speak to the Dr before hand. May be she would be happier in her own apartment. Also check about support groups. It's not worth her coming between you and your husband. I would get professional help for her. Good luck and I know that some good will come if you get her checked out. Hang in there.

  11. My mom and I lived together in her last few years. It was not easy, but, and a big but , it was my mom. Then she needed to be in a skilled nursing facility. I would give my right arm to go back to those days. xo

    1. I know what you mean when you say she was your mom. I feel exactly the same way. If I did not love her I would not be willing to make the sacrifices I have. It's just what we do for those we love.

  12. Hello Susan.....Caretaking is always very difficult and caretaking a difficult Mom is doubly so. However, I would like to add my own two (humble) cents worth. I did the caretaking role before my Mom died. We had a lot of difficult years in the past but I was determined she would never, EVER go to a nursing home as long as I lived. As my husband always said to me, during that time, "Susan, you have only one mother. When she is gone, she'll be gone forever."

    Try, if you can, to realize how it must be for her. Her eyes are failing. Her hearing is failing. She lost your father and her own home. She knows what's ahead------the end of this life on earth. It's hard for caretakers, Susan, but it's also terribly hard for the elderly parent.

    You definitely need breaks. I was able to garner the help of Elder Services, another agency that sent a volunteer over one afternoon a week, and so on. It was good for my Mom as well as for me!

    She remained with us until the very end. Susan, if I could give her a big hug now, I'd love to. If I could tell her how much I appreciated her giving me the gift of life, I would. But I can't do those things because she is gone now.

    When your Mom dies, you will miss her very much.

    You are doing a wonderful service, even more so on the hard days. Be good to yourself, too. Give yourself little treats (and BREAKS).

    I hope it helped to share this with you. Sincerely, Susan

    1. I know that her loss of vision and hearing is frustrating for her. I would do anything to change that. While we cannot reverse the macular degeneration, she can wear a hearing aid, but she doesn't and that does make me mad. To her, the fact that the hearing aid disrupts her hairstyle is more important than being able to hear what others are saying. Her sister is also very vain. Once when my aunt thought she might be having a stroke, she called my cousin to have him take her to the hospital. When he arrived she made him wait while she put on full make-up. My cousin was angry and thought the whole situation was ridiculous as they were losing precious time if she was indeed stroking. We both endure this kind of behavior because we love them. It's not easy though.

  13. I had my parents move in with us after adding an in-law suite to our house. I adored my parents - loved them with endless measure. However! 1. Daughters and moms have a hard time when the daughters are young and the mothers are old. 2. My mother blamed me harshly the rest of her days for "making" her move in with us (it was totally her idea). 3. My mother blamed us for "stealing her money" (which she kept hidden here, there, everywhere) first my dad, after he died she blamed me, eventually she blamed my husband, which I would not tolerate. When I told her I was "taking charge of her money so it wouldn't keep getting lost, she was furious! and in her furor she fell in the bathroom and within weeks was gone. Did I feel guilty? No, because I could not have my husband practically give up his own life for us to care for them and then he be falsely accused. It's hard, hard, hard to take on the responsibility you have taken, and especially if she has Alzheimers. My heart goes out to you dear friend, and I wish I could give you a solution. I can't, but I'm here to listen anytime you need to get things off your chest. And I'll add you to my prayer journal.

    Love, Mary

    1. I am so sorry you had to go through that. I think you did the best you could and I agree that you had to put your husband first.

  14. Susan, There is nothing more difficult than living with a parent again when you are an adult. My suggestion is a family counselor that you both can talk to separately and together to change the behavior and response patterns that come from the past. You Mom may be with you for a very long time and while that would be wonderful to have her around, it could be terrible for your sanity. It sounds like she is suffering as much as you are. I imagine giving up her independence is very traumatic for her. I don't think I could have survived my Mother as an adult with counseling. It didn't change her, but it certainly changed me! We are all here to listen and help, but nothing can take the place of families working together, with guidance, to solve their problems. Dianne


  15. Susan..
    you have taken on more than most of us can imagine. I hear both the love and the hurt in your post.. your other commentors have given you excellent advise and we are all here to support you.. Speak your truth and know there will be no judgement. Loving someone and liking them are 2 entirely different things.. praying and sending you loving light.

  16. Is your back yard big enough to put one of those small guest houses? That would give the two of you privacy and separation. Other than that, I don't know. Does she have some dementia? I ask because of her moods.

    1. She does not have dementia because I have been with her for every doctor's visit and she has been assessed. She has been moody for as long as I can remember. Our house is big and sprawling and she has her own wing, so separation is not really an issue. I do make every effort to try to spend some alone time every day just to get some breathing space.

  17. Oh Susan, so many changes for all of you. I know it's hard but I do think your Mom is scared. She is losing control of her life and it isn't easy I'm sure. You are getting the brunt of her anger and fear because she knows you love her unconditionally. My Mom is 83 and we are looking into trying to move closer to each other. I'm not sure I could live with my Mom but if it was needed I would try. A year and a half ago my Mom had heart failure and flatlined. She got a pacemaker and is doing well now. It changed her so much. She was mean and angry all the time before, but now she seems to be seeing that these years are a gift and she is trying to make the most of them. Take breaks from you Mom, get her evaluated by a Dr and don't forget to do what is best for you also.

    1. I am glad to hear that your mom is feeling better now.

  18. Your Mother is acting that way because she realizes she is losing control of her life. She is trying to control the only thing she can-you. Of course it will be hard on you, I sure hope things work out.

    1. I think that you have nailed it. Loss of control is really at the heart of this situation. I am treading water trying to be helpful to her and still allowing for her dignity.

  19. I'm so sorry. Your mother sounds bipolar. Has she been tested?

  20. You are to be commended for taking on such a difficult task, having your aging mother come live with you. There are no easy answers and I agree with someone who mentioned it already that professional help would probably be a good place to start. Of course, such things cost money and you may, or may not, be in a position to do this. If you aren't, there are organizations out there (and some churches) who offer family counseling. It will require some research for your area.

    I think it's so important that you not allow your mother to control and consume your own life. A professional can help you know how to set boundaries, and enforce them.

    May God give you strength as you walk this difficult path.

  21. Oh Susan. You are embarking on an extremely trying and treasured part of your life. I know because I'm right there with you. My Mother moved in with me in 2010. She was very healthy and very independent and we got along famously. All my friends said they couldn't do it but we had laid out some ground rules. We figured out the finances. I'm single so I gave her the master bedroom and made a much larger one for myself downstairs. We have TVs in our bedrooms so we can escape each other whenever needed and took on different jobs - I cook and she does the dishes etc.

    Then 2 years ago I went off work sick. After about 6 months, things really started to deteriorate. Mom became more frail; she's almost 89 now. She suffered a minor stroke. I'm bipolar (sounds like your Mom is struggling with depression and needs some help) and Mom is subject to depression. Things have been difficult and tense. At least I have 2 sisters living in town who will take her out for the day to give me a break.

    Okay, now for some advice (I think I was just giving you my credentials so to speak). Your Mother is treating you like a child and you are allowing it (I was too). You are an adult and you need to act like one. Pay attention to how you approach your Mom. I found I was"asking permission" when I meant to tell her something I was doing. Make sure you act like an equal. Eventually she will start treating you like one. Mom and I had to have a talk. Instigated by me. I tried not to tell her that she was driving me crazy. If I were you, I would make a pot of tea and sit your Mom down in your kitchen or family room (home field advantage). Tell her that you know that moving in together has been difficult for all of you. Tell her that you have been feeling very stressed out and you feel she has been too. Ask her what has been hard for her about this. Talk and listen to her like a friend. Don't get defensive if she becomes accusatory. Say things like yes, you understand that some things you do must drive her crazy but it's a 2 way street and say that you're both intelligent reasonable adults so you know that you can work together to make life good in your new home. I pointed out to my Mom that we were treating strangers better than we were treating each other. Now we try to stop before we say anything and think - would we say that to someone we don't know very well? If we wouldn't, then we shouldn't speak to someone we love that way. I know it's hard and it always will be - we find we need to sit down every 2 or 3 weeks to clear the air (I often find a martini helps).
    continued (comment too long)

  22. Now some practical things - yes she needs to see a DR and may need some meds for a little while to get through this tough transition period. It would also be a good idea if you did the same for yourself, Susan dear. You sound like you are feeling depressed too and it might be easier to get your Mom to go if you are too. Otherwise she'll feel like you are saying she's crazy and it's all her fault. I make a point every day to ask my Mother how she slept. It's a good gauge of her depression. Every few days I ask how she's feeling. really feeling not just take a "fine" for the answer. Sounds like your Mother is inclined to go on about aches and pains etc - was she always that way? has it gotten worse? Depression has physical signs.I feel like I have the flu - that run over by a truck feeling. Don't let her go on and on. I call that enjoying misery and it just brings you down more. If she's complaining about how she feels - ask her if you can call the DR for an appt, suggest she have a nap, etc and then quickly change the subject. Sometimes you need to leave the room to change the subject. For a while I was escaping to the bathroom just to put a door between us and Mom started to worry about me LOL.

    Next I don't know what she is able to do with her sight but if she is able to join a senior's centre and play cards or something like that - it will give her a day out and a break for you. Both of you are in a new area and have lost your friends - it is very important for both of you to make new friends - separately. Neither of you may feel like it but it's very important. You should sign up for something - a class or a workshop or something to get you out of the house. In the end, you will be grateful to have had this time with your Mother (keep telling yourself this - even if it's with gritted teeth). If you need someone to talk or a shoulder to cry on, go to my blog and send me an e-mail. I'm here for you. J

    1. In the beginning I tried asking her how well she slept, but she became very angry with me and told me never to ask her again. So I don't.

  23. It sounds as if the personality that your mother has always had ( Difficult...Petulant Child sort of person ) is accentuated as she gets older. Interesting when you brought up how your dad handled her, and then she backed down. In trying to do your best and be a good, sweet, dutiful daughter, you are now walking on eggshells, nervous and unhappy. As if your mom is an Energy Vampire...stealing your positive energy When people are depressed and unhappy, moody or self-centered, they do this ...they can build themselves up a bit by stealing the energy of others. I know this sounds strange but I have found it to be true.
    The trouble is, because she is older now, how to differentiate between typical shortcomings in her character and what might be a problem due to the advice to see a doctor that everyone is giving is good. I like the guest house ( or other house ) idea that was brought up sounds as if she might be able to afford that ?
    Whether in your home or in another home of her own, what did your dad do. Try to do more of that...what does one do with a child when they are acting up...acting petulant or self centered or throwing things. Time out! Throw up your hands and do a time out...ignore this or say enough or whatever your dad did, perhaps. Without being there or knowing her none of us can give a perfect answer ...and I am not sure if any of what I am saying helps or is even correct / feel quite badly for you and hope it will work out.

    1. You are right, she has always behaved in this pattern and it's not a recent change. I also agree that there are energy vampires and have known some.

  24. This seems to be a common problem with elders becoming self-centered and demanding. I would speak with an M.D. (ahead of time and without your mother's knowledge) about her "mood swings" and behavior, there might be a medication she could be put on that would keep her on a more "even keel". What about assisted living for her? It may be that living together is just not an option. You don't want to make yourself sick as well, or subject your family to constant drama. You sound like a wonderful daughter, but I think you are allowing yourself to become a doormat. Best of luck and keep us posted.

  25. Susan, My heart goes out to you..I don't really have any advice much..I could have never lived with my Mama..she was way too difficult and had the idea hat her way was always the right way...It is so hard to set some healthy boundaries but seems like you don't have any other choice...and when our parents get older we just have a tendency to feel sorry for them and not take care of ourselves in the relationship...
    hugs to you...

  26. I'm so sorry for what you are going through. Mine is the same in many ways and then some.that are different. Since she'll never change, I had to if I wanted a relationship with her BUT that doesn't mean I let her walk all over me. It just means I have to decide what to let go and what to defend.
    It sounds like your mother never really grew up to a woman's level of maturity. She found out when she was young that she could get her way if she pouted. If you feel comfortable about gently calling her out on this behavior, then I would. This book might help: Boundaries,
    Training others to respect us and our boundaries is a lot like training an animal or a small child how to behave properly. We are the ones that must keep at it and not give up. Things like, 'Mom, I don't talk to you that way, please do not talk to me that way', or 'I do not respond to that kind of behavior. when you have calmed down, we can continue this discussion.'. Might be in order, but only you know what she will, or will not respond to.
    It sounds like your mom likes to be the center of attention. You might try and find a way to let her know she is not and that your husband and marriage must come first.
    I don't know if any of this is helpful. I hope things take a turn for the better soon.

  27. This is very helpful Melissa and I so appreciate your ideas. I will certainly check out the book you suggested. I think it may very well be the exact resource I need for this situation.

  28. Oh my goodness, I'm sorry to hear of this dilemna! Mothers can be fussy, moody, picky...especially with daughters...and especially when their hubby is gone. It sounds like maybe you and your hubby should be living separately with mom nearby in an apt. or condo or senior center or perhaps a 2 family home rather than all under one roof. That could solve a lot of issues. Another solution may be to get a part time or full time job to get out of the house. It almost seems like you're a teenager living at home again...and that's not acceptable. There could be underlying health issues such as Alzheimer's, etc. but sounds like she's been this way her whole life, in which case, maybe you want to either stand your ground in a nice way, and ask for your husband's support, or simply distance yourself for a reprieve. Sounds a little like she's spoiled and depressed at the same time. You cannot control how she feels, but you can control how you feel...and if you feel like living there is upsetting, do consider relocating to a 2 family home so you're really close and can both stop into the other's home regularly yet retreat to your own spaces for peace. It could be the best of both worlds, and a win-win situation which would reduce strain on both of you. ;o)

  29. This sounds so much like my stepdaughter and her Mom..It's a control thing and as much as I think you are a Saint for taking her in..You're just plain nuts..I mean that in a nice way..Sorry but she's already affecting your relationship with your husband...I recognized long ago that I could never live with my family..We all love each other but we are different and used to doing our own thing..My sister and I could never live together..I wish I had a solution for you..One of your readers suggested drugs..don't go there for yourself anyway..She's unhappy that she's dependent on you now...I'm probably her age and I know that the last thing I would want would be to live with my family...She's used to being on her own (I assume) and now she realizes she can't any more so she's coming to terms with "getting old"..It's tough for everyone but don't let her affect your relationship with David..He and Bentley come first !!! And you as well..God Bless you..

    1. I love that you think I am "just plain nuts"! Sometimes I wonder that too. I appreciate you being so honest and frank. That's exactly what I wanted. I don't have all or any of the answers to this situation, but y'all are helping me out. It's so helpful to have a sounding board because we all need a different opinion sometimes. Thanks Missy. I love your spunk!

  30. What a mess. I know you love her, but one of the best things my Mother ever did for me was sell her house, move into senior living apartments (not assisted living) 10 minutes from me, and have her own life. She is almost 87 years old and we both agree that we will never live under the same roof again. The fact is, she would not live with me or my brother because she likes her freedom. She wants me and my husband to share our older , empty nest years together and alone. I think that if your mother is ables to live alone, she should. If not, do yourself a favor and set some ground rules. If her feelings get hurt, she will get over it. There is no sense being miserable and wondering what her mood is going to be. Life is too short and I don't think your Dad would want you to live this way either.

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  32. Susan, I am so sorry you are having to go through this with your mom. Big adjustments in your life, for both her and your family. My husband has been sick for 9 years now with chronic pancreatitis and now dementia, and I so understand how difficult it is. I read somewhere that with dementia if they were happy go lucky before getting it, they will be that way; but on the other hand if they were irritable they will be that way and that's what we have w/him. I think this just applies to aging in general. I understand you said she doesn't have dementia. I have noticed the hardest thing for him is giving up of things he had control over and no longer does. There's just my daughter and I to care for him, but I started taking a painting class 3 years ago just so I can get out and it has helped me so much. I've met some wonderful ladies and artists, and I so look forward to it weekly. Hopefully you can maybe look into something like that, even for you and your husband together. I know our Senior Center has some amazing classes. And of course you have sweet Bentley, those little ones give us unconditional love and know when we are down and out! As Ever, Annette

  33. I'm past this part of my life but I do remember how very difficult it was. We moved my mom across country when our son was 7. She lived near us for 6 yrs & then passed away. They were very full yrs with a growing child plus all the responsibilities of caring for her. We chose to place her in senior housing in our town - she had her own little apartment so we each had our own space & I had time away from her every day.

    I think you are both grieving - you've both lost some of your freedom & it's normal to become angry & cry - for both of you to. I agree with some of the suggestions I read : check her D levels, get support, ect. Contact your local area agency on aging. They were a life source for me. They knew answers to questions I didn't even know to ask. You may not need them much yet since she's physically able to get around but they will help you as things transition.

    I'd set some limits for yourself. Don't try to placate or please, just do what you can as cheerfully as you can. When you can't do it say no honestly & if she sulks, that's your chance to have a little time to yourself. There is so much I could say but here are the two things that helped us the most. 1. Choose some rituals - weekly lunch out, go to church together, have a movie night, something that will be a routine you both count on every week. It may not be all that fun most of the time for you but just consistently do something together. For us it was our weekly grocery shopping/lunch out. We went to church together as well & I called her every day. It's ok to have to do detailed things like that. She is older & does need it. After she's gone you'll be glad you did & you'll remember some good times in all the hard things.
    2. Set limits without guilt: state them lovingly as needed. I'm not saying she won't make you feel guilty, I'm saying decide what you can handle, do that & no more. Don't feel bad for things you cannot do no matter how she reacts. I often said things like 'Mom I know this is hard for you & I am doing my best for you.', 'I cannot do more.', 'I cannot do it today but I will do it____.' ect.

    My son was a huge help. She loved him so much & he could make her happy. My comment feels scattered but basically I want you to ask for help, even if it's asking your mom for help. tell her you cannot deal with the drama if she's capable of understanding that. But especially ask for local, outside help. You should not do this alone.

  34. She needs medication! Hang in there.

  35. I'm so sorry this is happening, Susan! I can relate in so many ways. When we moved my mother out here 16 years ago she was living with us and I didn't think she could live by herself. It was so hard with all of us living together. She bought a little condo after about 6 months and then about five years ago she agreed to live in a retirement home after being with us almost a year after Hurricane Ike. Very trying times. But maybe a retirement home or assisted living home would be good for her. She could have her own little apartment with her things and they always have so many activities for the seniors and she could meet some new friends and you would be close but you and your hubby would have your own space again. I wish I had just the right words to say to you. You'll be in my prayers.

  36. The boundaries book is an awesome resource. It helped me a ton. I think your Dad had some good boundaries and that is why he was able to make it with her. Learning to set boundaries is not always easy but it is a must when you have a difficult person in your life. I just can't understand why some people like being difficult, You sound like a sweet heart so sweet that your Mom has taken advantage of that sweetness. I lost my Dad to Alzheimer's too and I learned that the personality of a person is magnified as they get older my Dad was always a fun person and he did get funnier as he went through the Alzheimer's but others who where know to be difficult got really nasty when Alzheimer's kicked in and the only way they could be treated was with drugs to keep them from being so difficult and violent, I am sorry your Mom is a difficult person but I know you love her anyways but that does not mean you have to put up with her bad behavior.


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