Emotional Mugging

by Stephanie

I am a caregiver to my elder mom who is now 96. I am the only child, after my sister died 5 years ago, suddenly. She and I were a team and took care of my parents at their home at the time. She and I were so very close, she was my best friend.

My father had suffered from severe depression for many years even with the tons of anti depressants his psychiatrist had him on. And my mother, well, she has always been a negative person, very insecure and self absorbed. Mom and dad fed off each other as to whom was sicker. I would go help them cook and I'd clean their house for them because it became very hard for mom.

I took care of dads medications because he would abuse them and take too many or take them at the wrong times. Mom and dad were married for 75 years before my father died from COPD 2 years this August. They never seemed to really like each other.

When my sister died I had her home to sell, my parents home to sell, and the new home my sister had just moved into close to my home so we could together care for my parents without driving a long distance daily to their home.

So after the death of my sister I put my parents in the BEST nursing assisted living facility in the area. They fought me ever step of the way but I could not care for them and sell 3 homes, grieve for my sister and everything else that was going on.

I can not explain the amount of pressure I had on me. Trying to go through so many personal items in my sisters home, my parents home, finding the best homes for my sister's dogs she loved so, even though I took one when I had already two of my own. Dealing with real estate people and lawyers...it was a nightmare.

Through the stress my husband and I came within weeks of divorce. I had always been such a positive person but this all was shattering my life. To know me you would have to understand I am a fighter. I am strong willed and I always try to find the positive in everything so I battled and I have come out on the other side still whole.

I continued to care for mom and dad in the nursing facility all the time. They had two rooms connected to one another like it was one big room. Sometimes, 4 to 5 times a week I would go spend time with them. I'd cook the foods they liked and bring them there, brought them their favorite goodies, still took them to all their doctors ect.. I'd take them both to my home often for day trips even though they constantly said they were too sick, they were dying, they would not make it through the weekend. The drama was endless.

Both in wheelchairs outings were not easy, but I continued to care for my parents and try to love them even though I never was good enough or so it seemed. I never heard I love you or thank you honey for everything you do. Or just a kind word.

My parents were not good at giving any form of compliment. Mom way worse then dad. One of the last trips to the hospital with my dad I remember was laying in the bed with him crying and he petted my head and he told me he loved me. I cried for days after that cause it meant so much to me. He did return to the facility but he died a few months later. The day before he died he yelled at me and said what the hell took me so long getting there, he needed me!!!.. He could be very loving but very mean also. I think my dad suffered from his depression from living with my mother for all those years.

I gave dad a beautiful funeral. Only the best for my dad. I though mom would be proud....yeah right.

Till this day she talks bad about dad and everyone else I know. She is judgmental and no one goes to see her not even her grandchildren.

She brings everyone down. She sucks the life out of everyone from the time they walk in the door. She has no disease, just old age. Her mind is still very sharp, she makes her own decisions for the most part. She takes no medications. The only thing she suffers from at 96 is bad arthritis in her hands and knees.

I go their happy and full of hope that today will be a good
day and some days we actually have a pretty good day, but when I have my guard down she pounces. Negative negative negative. "I CAN'T" is a word if I never hear again would be to soon. She never smiles when I get there. She refuses to eat with the others in the beautiful dining facilities, she never leaves her room but to shower and get her hair done. She doesn't think she is like the rest there.

I polish her nails and wash her clothes. I buy her pretty things for her room and she tells me why did I do that...I have no room...take it back. She loves to tell stories from years ago....bad things. About things my dad did. My sister...oh everyone.

I am so sorry I went on and on...I can tell you so much more about how she acts but talking about it is draining to me. The reason I came here in the first place is to get it out I guess. I really have no one who understands but my husband but I hate to bring all the negativity into the house after a visit with her to him.

This last visit last week was the worse. She became mean and ugly and I told her if she was going to continue to be this way I would leave. She said "Don't YOU threaten me!" I said, "Mom I am not, I just can't sit here and listen to you talk about people like this and myself". She accuses me of leaving early cause she knows I am having a affair...she points at me with this evil, evil look on her face and says the ugliest things.

She brings up the past and rubs things in your face....things that were so long ago to make you feel bad. Her grandchild who is only 47 was diagnosed 2 months ago with stage 4 cancer.. and she threw her hands up in the air like to say what do you want me do do about it and said "Oh well...we all have to go sometimes."

Everything is about my mother. No one should get attention but her. No one should be sicker then her. When we were planning my sisters funeral she was upset because we were not paying enough attention to her....could we not see how she wasn't going to make it!!?

This last visit when I told her I was leaving if she didn't stop talking this way she reached out from her wheel chair as I sat on the edge of her bed and swung at me and caught me in the face with her nail. No it was not hard cause she is weak but just seeing her want to hurt me just hurt so bad. Then she proceeded to try to pull herself off the wheelchair to the floor on her knees. I said mother what are you doing! and tried picking her up and she cried out like I was killing her. It was all for attention and the drama is more then I can take. I ran and got the nurse and aid and they got her up. I was a wreck all the way home.

I kept going over all the things she said and my guilt for not handling things the right way. I can't sleep at night worrying about her sometimes also...what is that about! But I just don't know how to handle this or her anymore without driving myself crazy.

I will continue to visit my mother not because I like her or respect her, but because she is my mom. The Italian guilt thing I guess.

I feel like I am being emotionally mugged every time I go, she sucks the life from me... but my guilt that she is there keeps me going back for more. It has been over a week since this last incident happened and I went yesterday and brought her wash but I did not go in to see her.

I heard her say where is my daughter???....why are you bringing me my cloths in??? Then I heard her say Oh nooo as if crying, like she knew I wasn't coming in to see her. It makes me so sad but at the same time I know I can not have her do this to me. So I will wait till I feel I can go back. I am hoping somehow she will realize she can not act this way. But at 96 years old do I really think she can change??? I am a very positive person, but even I don't think this miracle will occur.

Thanks for listening to my ranting.... Now after all that it is time for yoga :)


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Hang in there!!
by: stephanie

Stephanie, that's my name too.. My mother is very negative and only is kind to my siblings that are co dependent on her. Anyway I feel for you.

I would suggest you get in touch with a mental health worker. You will keep going through hell wondering what is wrong with her. And the bottom line is not to hurt you ,but she will never act like a mother meaning loving,nurturing,understanding.(The Mother) the one who is their for you its called wanting unconditional love as Mothers are symbolic for.

I'm sorry she does love you ,but does not know how to show it you are a GOOD daughter.You give her unconditional love!! I have gone through the same thing with my mom. All that I could do was stop talking to her. It hurts because, the chances of someone changing or seeking mental help is slim.

They don't realize there is a problem. You have done everything and more. Please call a mental health worker. They can help you work through what your feeling,but they can not help your mom. She has to seek it first. Good Luck keep being strong..

I Feel Your Pain!!
by: Kristen

Stephanie you just described my mother to a tee!!I cannot begin to list all the muggings and abuse I have encountered over the last 47 years of being her daughter.

My father is very ill in a wheelchair and I am his caregiver x 14 years. She and him finally divorced a few years ago after almost 50 years of a dysfunctional, abusive marriage. I have always been the fixer in my family of five. My two brothers are a different story! I just want to say I admire you and your story. It is comforting to know there are others out there fighting this battle.
Best of luck with yours!!
Sending love and light

Being Emotioinal Mugged too!!!
by: Kathy

I can relate to your story!!! It's so hard to constantly want to please your parent when all they do is complain about everyone and everything around them. I feel your pain!

My mom is almost 92 and she is never happy and is resentful toward me because I'm a happy person. No matter what I do it's never enough, it's a very frustrating situation. I never thought that I would be searching for a website to see if I could relate to other people going through the same situation as I'm going thru.

God Bless you in your journey with your mom.
Glad I was able to vent myself....

by: MT

I too understand what you are going through, my mother is living with me and I can honestly say I dislike her immensely. She too is so very negative....never has anything nice to say about anyone. In fact, my whole life I only remember every conversation gossiping about other people.

Unfortunately, when you tell other people how you do not like or want to care for your mother you hear" she is your mother she brought you up".
Prayers to you in your situation as I am so understanding your predicament.

This Too will Pass
by: Anonymous

I hear you.....I am an only child as well and responsible for taking care of my 84 year old mother who is a master manipulator and could be an Academy Award actress. She is also ungrateful. It is NOT YOU.

There are days where I would love to crawl under a rock. I try to focus on other things like my new granddaughter. I try to look at life through her eyes - a new world to be discovered. I just found this site and it is helpful.

We will all be awarded in heaven for our loving sacrifices.

Reply to Stephanie
by: Anonymous


I am sure your sister's passing was hell for you. You probably thanked your lucky stars that you had someone to share the load and understood first hand the challenges of caring for your parents.

It's so hard to deal with some elderly people. They are not able to do things they used to do and become trapped in a vicious cycle of idle hands-idle minds. I know my own father has times where he imagines the worst of every situation.

It really can bring you down. You feel as if you're the only one who will be there for them. I am in that situation. My own sister lives 200 miles away. She comes occasionally, just to visit, which is good for my Dad, but not much real help to me.

I know in the future, there will be times I'll have to bite my tongue, as I will get blamed for running her off if I say anything to her.

It really seems that you've learned to be the better person with all that you're putting up with. My hat's off to you. Take good care of yourself.

Hang in There !!
by: Jill

What I call emotional manipulation!! Lots of experience with it. Stephanie, even though she is your mother she needs to show you some respect, she expects it from you and it goes both ways.

My mother has been doing the same thing, and I just put up a wall to protect my heart when she's in that mode. MRS. Nasty comes out and no one is safe. My siblings kind of "stay busy" mostly because they don't want to deal with her attitude.

She goes from spewing acid in your direction to self pity and no one has it as bad as she does.

I can relate, and I am sorry. Hang in there, and maybe, keep some distance emotionally to save your self. You still have to do what you have to, but at least your emotions and heart can remain in tact. Hang in there !!

Reply To Emotional Mugging
by: Anonymous

First of all , Stephanie, I would like to say to you that you are not to blame for your Mother's actions.

It's easier to blame someone else or pretend that we don't care when we are in pain. For some reason we can't accept that it could possibly be our fault for our own misery. It has to be someone else's fault. God forbid we be responsible for our own shortcomings! My Father died from COPD. It's a horrible way to die. I understand your pain there!

Your Mother sounds a lot like my younger sister. As long as things are going their way, everything is fine, but call them out on something they did and it's hell to pay.Either they can't see themselves or they do and are disgusted by what they see. They can't deal with it and blaming someone else for their pain is how they deal with it.


You are only human. I don't know what your beliefs are , but I believe in God and I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that HE loves you. I know that because I'm in the same boat and we have to love and encourage each other. I BELIEVE IN YOU!

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