How do you deal with a totally negative mother?

Hi all, this is my first post so a little background. Around 4 years ago my brother was diagnosed with cancer, at the same time my dad was diagnosed with dementia. I had to become Dad’s deputy ,which is no easy task with all the hoops you have to jump through (he was too far gone for me to get POA)as well as taking my brother for appointments for treatment and taking him out in general. Dad had to go into a care home and at weekends I would take my brother in to see him on saturday and my mother on the sunday ( so no weekend for me). My brother passed away in 2018 and I had to sort out his will (there was a lot to do as he was a hoarder). Then in September 2019 Dad passed away and I had to sort that out as well. Almost immediately my mother had a few falls and I started to have time off work to look after her ( infact the first week in February was the first time I did a whole weeks work since dad died). Contacted the council so we got carers and physio in for her but they have stopped now ( she would not let the carers do anything and would not do the exercises the physio asked her). She is so negative. The stairlift? Too slow. In pain? Wont take any painkillers. When at a clinic at the weekend a nurse told her about a another woman her age (83) who had cancer and was better now, mum said that she would not get better, the nurse said you will, mums reply was Wanna bet! There are endless examples, this killing me and I fear for my job.

Hello and welcome

Can you afford a care home or not?

Sorry not an option.

Hi Ray,

So sorry to hear about your losses in such a short space of time.

You must be related to me because my Mum sounds exactly like yours. They must be sisters! I can never win. At times, I just admit defeat and go along with her. She is a lovely woman but very hard work. Anything I suggest has got a retort straight away and it’s always the opposite of what I have suggested. It’s very hard work indeed.

You’ve reached the stage of role reversal, your Mum’s role is now the child and yours is the parent. You have to take control in some way.

No-one has any obligation to care for anyone else no matter what their relationship, if you don’t do it someone else will have to.

Have a serious talk with her and set out her options - she either accepts that you need some help from her if you’re to carry on helping her (if you want to) or she just has to have strangers to help her with everything.

Do you live with mum?
What is the matter with her? Physically? Mentally?
Claiming Attendance Allowance?
Own or rent her house?

I am living with mum (but work 20 odd miles away) She does own her house. It seems to be both mental (not dementia but just so negative) and physical with mobility issues. Not claiming attendance allowance is it worth it?

There are two rates, the higher rate is approx £360 per month and the lower rate is approx £240.

Sorry to hear that. My Mum is the same. She cared for my Dad for years and now has dementia herself.

You HAVE to take a step back. You can’t make your Mum happy or well and it isn’t your responsibility to try. I’ve learnt to deflect it when Mum is negative with bland comments that shut the conversation down. Things like “oh dear that must be hard” in a monotone whilst walking away seem to work.

However YOU can make YOU happy and keep yourself well and keep your job, all of which are priorities and important.

Absolutely look at claiming Attendance Allowance as a starting point as it will give you some cash to spend on a cleaner, taxis to appointments etc, whatever will make life easier for you.

We’ve also had to be tough on Mum that we (me and my sister) can’t do it all, we’ve worked out what we can do, the rest has to fall to someone else. My Mum is self funding (ie has savings over the £23k threshold), so this comes out of her pension/attendance allowance. If your Mum has less than £23k the local authority should contribute. Has Mum had a local authority needs assessment recently?

It isn’t easy, but start claiming your life back, it is important too.

I was widowed suddenly at 54. Nothing is ever the same again. I’ve made a new life now, but it was very hard. Has mum had any counselling? It might help, but grief is a long process. Losing her son must have been a huge blow too. You might benefit from some counselling too, specifically aimed at how to protect yourself from her negativity and manage her expectations. It was life changing for me.