I'm a 25 year old single mother that has been the personal driver, cook, housekeeper, errand girl, secretary and therapist for my 76 & 78 year old grandparents for the past two and a half years.
Yes, my parents are alive and well. They live 20 minutes away and work 2 minutes away (literally). They only come by twice a month (and that's so that they can pick up my daughter) and they never come in to talk to their parents; they just scoop her up and go. They call once a month if that.
My sister and her husband live 10 minutes away. Sis thinks that calling my grandmother back once or twice a week is some sort of "help" or "support". She comes by once every 8 weeks to help with paperwork (and it's never resolved because my grandmother always has questions after she leaves). My brother lives 5 minutes away and hasn't been by in a year.
We have other relatives that live close by, but only cause problems, so they're not welcome. My grandmother has two other children, a son with a drug problem and a son in another state that swoops down a few times a year to "save" her.
After dealing with my grandmother's passive aggressive personality, her hate for me (the only person that can truly stand to be around her, which of course she doesn't believe; she thinks people actually like her!), her complete lack of respect for me as a mother, and her empty threats to kill herself, I am now on day 10 of a two week vacation from the madness.
For someone who claims she doesn't need me, she sure is losing her mind. At first her voice mails were sweet and caring, filled with fake concern. Now she's getting back to her usual nasty self and has accused me of taking her extra garage door opener (yes, a garage door opener). She claims she needs it (she #1 has it and #2 doesn't need it, she doesn't have a car and there is such a thing as a front door).
My mother also lost her mind calling me, trying to figure out where "we" went and can she pick up my daughter so that they can go to the beach. I told my father I felt suicidal and like I was having a nervous breakdown.
He told me that he felt my situation was "survivable" (this was 5 minutes after he said that he couldn't deal with my grandmother). I realize now that he only called to appease the wife and get my child for their stupid little vacation. And no, my daughter did not go with them and yes the calls stopped immediately.
My nosy sis stopped calling after she realized that I wasn't releasing any info to her about our whereabouts.
I now have some freedom and I am so happy. I will return to get paperwork and some personal items, but I don't think I can go back there to live. I'm scared because I have had a very unhealthy relationship with my grandparents (dependency) and I have to break free. I don't want to be in my 30's and 40's dealing with this. I'm glad my family now feels that tightness in their chests, that lump in their throats, and the frustration that I have felt for so long.
I will never give my all to ungrateful, mean people. I will never sacrifice my health (which has declined and almost landed me in the hospital last month) and sanity for "family". Family should not put so much pressure on one of its youngest members who is still growing while they live their happy lives, taking trips all over the world while their mother/grandmother is barely making it. And my grandmother should kiss my feet everyday because my grandfather would have been in a nursing home two years ago if I hadn't intervened (fact, not opinion).
The last thing that my grandmother said to me was, "I don't think you should go on vacation." I thought that she was going to say it was because I just got off of my antibiotics and she was worried. No, she said, "Because we need you here." Oh go jump off of a bridge already! She talks about me behind my back, to my face and to any person who will listen. She needs to call these "wonderful" people and see how quickly they jump up to help.
I'm saying all of this to say, don't let them take your life. Be strong, even if you're scared, or financially or emotionally vulnerable. And sometimes family isn't worth a damn; it's okay to go out and make a new family with people that actually care.