Still don't want to care

I will have to care for elderly Mum, 88. She is expecting me to take on the duties in return for what she and my father did for me. I have no children of my own so apparently I am ideally suited to take on this role. I think I would feel differently if she was more laid back and not dictating to me what I should do. The one time she did show a softer approach I felt much better towards her.

However, she is always right and the laid back side rarely appears. We have full blown emotional confrontations everytime we have to broach the subject now. I am really not the right person to be doing this. I need professional training in order to be able to deal with this (have tried counselling but this has not worked) - is there anything out there?

I think, to be honest, if you don’t want to care for her (and you certainly don’t have to want to!) and the issues you are having with arguments, perhaps it would be best to get professional carers for your mum.

She sounds like she is trying manipulate you into the role of carer - which is really not fair to you.

No one HAS to care for relatives - ethically, morally or legally - so go with what you really think you want/need/can handle

The key question here is do you live with mum?

Thank you Jess and Bowlingbun for replying.

I do not live with her but am 10 mins down the road. My Downe’s Syndrome brother lives with her and I have to look out for him to make sure he is not getting unfair treatment from her. He is under social services but they are not there the whole time. I cannot abandon him and I think she is using that to her advantage but I do have to look out for him. I do try to limit my exposure but the pattern now is that the limited exposure escalates into a more emotional confrontation each time which I find really hard to deal with.

I need to now how professional carers and mental health professionals deal with this sort of person. I do not want to put a label on her personality but there are striking similarities with the “narcissistic parent”, which I am now becoming aware of. Most of the guidance says to stay clear from them at all costs but this is not an option here.

perhaps you should tackle this from another angle. Are their plans in place for what will happen to your brother when your Mum is too old/frail to care for him? If so, why not start putting that plan into action now? If there isn’t a plan, then maybe it’s time to start exploring the options for him. Without your brother being at your Mum’s, you will only have to visit when you want to and you will feel under less obligation to stay if she is being horrible.


Hi Chris,

I have a brain damaged son, 40, who now lives in his own flat with carer support, as I have some health issues.

It’s absolutely vital that you sort out your brother’s future care as a matter of extreme urgency. He needs to move to a new home whilst mum is still alive, so you and mum can support him.

Do you have Power of Attorney for mum?
Who is DWP Appointee for your brother? Are all the benefits he is entitled to being claimed?
It would be cruel in the extreme for him to have to move out of his home when recently bereaved. My husband died 13 years ago, I know how much my son still misses his dad.

In the meantime, your brother should have a package of care where he goes to day services or community activities every weekday, to give mum a break and start the transition to his new life.



Are you in touch with your local Mencap? Maybe talk to them about the options for your brother in his area.
Moving out does NOT mean not seeing mum ever again, your brother’s care plan would include time to see mum.
Once she gets used to this, she might find it incredibly helpful to know that he is being well looked after, so she can enjoy his company more, and vice versa.
If your brother is living on income related benefits like Income Support, Employment Support Allowance or similar, then you don’t need to worry about the cost of future care, it will all be provided for by DWP/Social Services. My son has his own flat, fully funded by the local council.

The plan is that I will move in with my brother if anything happens to her, then I can manage the transition to getting my brother living independently when Mum is not around to obstruct the process. But this relies on me outliving Mum (who I think will live to 100). I already got breast cancer through the stress of Dad dying and feel like the current stress is as bad - so who knows what will happen to me! I need to plan but cannot deal with Mum who won’t let my brother go (as she will then have to deal with outside carers which she does not want to do). I admire my brother for putting up with her and that is why I need to protect him. But I cannot go and live with her like he does.

My brother’s friend also acts as carer to his mum and vice versa. It is more common than you think.

I admire you for taking on your caring duties. I wish I was more like you. How did you learn to accept it?

I agree that we need to be realistic about the effect it will have on my brother if Mum dies and I have broached this subject with her on numerous occasions. Perhaps she has reduced mental faculties as she seems incapable of suggesting a way forward but won’t listen to anyone else’s suggestions. (However, she has always been like this). The current plan is that I will move in with him and can then manage his transition to independent living while Mum is not around to obstruct.

Her worry is that she will have to deal with outsiders and people she has not chosen to be in her home. I get that and I can try to manage this and act as a care liaison person but she does not do anything. He does a lot for her and I have to watch that she does not overstep the demands on him.

I still have the problem - how do I deal with a controlling woman who does not listen to anyone and thinks she is always right? She will not let him go whilst she is alive.

Thank you for your insight. I agree with what you are saying but the reality is trying to get Mum to move forward. She is scared of anything outside her control and she can control my brother and me. She will not listen and is always right. Its been like this all my life. She has a very powerful aura and picks people who fit into a mould. I have not figured out how to deal with her without compromising myself (so I could keep her happy if I surrendered my life, lived with her and did everything she tells me every day. There is only one way out of that for me).

As we cannot get any plans in place whilst Mum is around I will have to move in with my brother when she goes and deal with a transition to supported living for him then. He is staying with me overnight at the weekend in preparation for this. I cannot get him away any more than that at the moment - she digs her heels in. Possible we are seeing early dementia but she has always been like this.

How do you manage to cope with the responsibilities that have been placed on you? You sound like you have had and are continuing to have a hard lot (caring for your sibling, parent and at one point grandparent). How do you cope? I wish I could be like you and accept it. How do you do it? Where am I going wrong? Do I have too much ego?

I know if I had had children I would not want them to do my bidding until their dying days.

Are you saying that your brother with Down’s Syndrome is mum’s carer???


I honestly think that you should go back to Social Services and
Make a Safeguarding Complaint.
Ask for him to have an Independent Advocate
Ask them to consider whether he is being Deprived of his Liberty.

Quite honestly, his status sounds like carer/slave, not allowed to do what he has a right to in life because mum feels her needs are more important than his.
When does he EVER do anything for himself? Go out with friends? Go to the cinema?

It is possible that your brother’s situation is the very worst I personally have EVER come across in all my years as a carer. If so, then it is not for you to deal with this personally, it is for the authorities to deal with.

Hi Chris,

I didn’t want to read and run, but I did want to let you know that you’re not alone in this type of predicament.

I don’t know if it’s a generational thing or if it’s just that some people have the kind of personality that means they cannot see past their own needs, but it’s so unfair that they think this way.

I personally don’t have the bravery required to say the following statement to my caree, but it might work for you, if you can muster the strength to say it:

“it’s all very well you expecting this level of care/protection/security from me/my brother, but, when you pass (or however you want to put it), do you think anyone is going to support or be there for me/us in the same way? Because you are making us ill- whether that be now or in the future, the stress of everything happening now is going to have a knock-on effect and it’s down to the way you are making me/us feel and, quite frankly, you are being selfish”

As I say, I don’t know if you’ve got the internal strength to actually say this (or even write it down so she can read it), but it might make all the difference if she realises what she’s doing to you and your brother.

Really wish you the best of luck and I so hope you can find a way out of this horrid situation