I would be so grateful for advice. I am 49 and an only child, I grew up in a home where my mum’s ill health ( brain haemorrhage) dominated our lives. She did recover and returned to work etc but her needs and wants were always priority, she has always complained and compared and had to be right, so dad had a tough time.
Mums health has gradually deteriorated over the years and dad became her carer, he would do everything for her and when he died 6 years ago it became clear that he did far more than was necessary, as mum could suddenly do it herself.
I go over twice a week and do all the chores, shopping etc, she has a big house and garden none of which she can do herself, she is now registered disabled and has macular degeneration. She has carers for only 2 hours a week, thats all she will agree to and complains about them constantly.
She is emotionally draining to be with and talks at me for hours about her health and childhood, she complains and yet won’t talk about making any changes to make life any easier for herself. She has started to sleep walk and hides her tablets, eats leaving a trail of empty packets which she finds in the morning. She has hallucinations which has been diagnosed as Charles Bonnet but I suspect could be Lewy Bodies Dementia.
She can be very unkind verbally and over the last 6 years I have responded to fight or flight and legged it as I couldn’t cope. I have read alot about Narcissistic personality disorder and feel she ticks many boxes, she falls out with neighbours, doctors, family, carers etc and never considers she may be at fault.
She is adamant that she’s not going in a home, she gets attendance allowance, has a lot of savings. She is housebound and relies on me for everything.
I’ve had counselling, read self help books, I talk to my very patient husband and friends but I feel engulfed by her, overwhelmed and scared about the future.
Thank you for reading.
Your Mum sounds a difficult woman.
I suggest you put the details re her health deterioration and your concerns in a letter or email to her GP and request a health check for her.
If her needs are increasing, her Needs Assessment requires updating by social care and she may need to accept more help. As long as you are filling all the gaps in her care -she won’t realise how much she needs doing.
If her house and garden are now too big for her (and you) to manage she needs to consider employing a cleaner and gardener or moving to somewhere more manageable.
These won’t be easy things to tackle, would anybody else join you in tackling these issues with your Mum?
PS Denis has posted a book you might find useful https://www.carersuk.org/forum/support-and-advice/tips-and-practical-advice/useful-books-etc-34377?start=20 see his last post.
How to Stand Up for Yourself, by Dr Paul A Hauck (ISBN 0664242235)
Thank you Melly 1 for your kind words and understanding. Sadly most people who have been involved with my mum have ended up walking away, she has argued with two gardeners who chose not to return and several carers have made excuses to finish.
I will read the book that you recommended and follow your advice , thanks again x
I had counselling to help me deal with mum, and my disabled son, when I was newly widowed and newly disabled.
The counsellor made me realise that I was still behaving like an obedient child, when in fact I had a very busy life of my own, with not a moment left for myself. He told me that it was OK, I could refuse to do things for mum, but rather than refuse, use delaying tactics. The more I tried to get everything done, the faster the jobs came at me. It was actually a tactic to keep ME there, because mum was lonely. It wasn’t really about the jobs at all!
For example, mum would give me endless jobs, lining up like buses! I learned to choose what I wanted to do, and do it at a pace I was comfortable at. When the next job came along, I’d say “you asked me to do this, so let’s finish it before we start doing anything else”.
I’m her daughter, not her slave. Anyone can do housework and gardening. I dealt with mum’s money and paperwork.
If your mum alienates cleaners and gardeners, do NOT do their jobs. Tell her it’s her fault for being rude to them. Say it outright.
Thank you so much for your advice Bowlingbun, it has given me lots to think about, thank you.
I cannot tell you how life changing it was, just to be told I had a RIGHT to a life of my own.
I married at 19, we did everything together, until my husband had a heart attack and died in 2006, leaving me to run our business alone, 30 tons of lorry spares to manage and sell. 3 months later I was nearly killed in a car accident, and disabled in constant pain. Also had a son with severe learning difficulties. Despite all these problems, disabled mum with carers 3 times a day and a gardener, and a girl who did shopping for her, told me that she SAVED jobs for me as I did them better! She was so self centred that she moaned that dad died prematurely when he was 78. I told her NEVER to say that to me again, as my OH died at 58. How insensitive!!
The counsellor was the first person ever to say that mum was being unreasonable with her demands on me. In fact he was horrified at what I was being expected to do.
He encouraged me to set priorities in my life, and do more of what I wanted and less of what everyone else wanted.
Although mum and I used the same surgery, so they knew of my health issues, they demanded that I drove 6 miles to mum’s house, collected a urine sample, waited for it to be tested, go and get the pills from the chemist, take them to mum, and drive home again!!
On another occasion I was asked to care for mum all over Christmas when I’d just had surgery and couldn’t do anything for myself, not even allowed to drive.
I was conditioned all my life that helping others was “good”, doing things for myself instead was “bad”. Counselling made me realise that no one else really cared about me or put my needs first. If I didn’t stick up for myself and refuse to do things, I’d be constantly expected to do things for other people because it was easier for them than doing it themselves, especially as I’d been very capable. (I was shipping steam engines round the world when I was 23!).
The other thing was to simply say “I can’t”. No need to follow it with an explanation. That took LOTS of practice before I managed that. I used to say “because…”. It’s no one else’s business but mine what I do in my time!
This was all life changing.
Most of all the revelation that I wasn’t doing jobs for mum resentfully because I had to, or because there was no one else, the fewer things I chose to do for her were done out of love.
There were other people to do the things I didn’t want to do, and often mum worked out for herself who could do them instead!