I Don't Know how Much More I can Handle...

by Amy
(Boston, MA)

I found this site online after searching today for some help. I'm at a loss and don't know how much more I can take.


My mother is a 60 year old woman with MANY physical and mental illnesses. She was always sick when I was growing up, but it all came to a head in 2007 when I was away at college.

My teenage sisters, still in HS and living at home, called and begged me to return home from school (1,500 miles away) because mom is in a "mental institution". Since that phone call, I've been her sole caretaker and I just can't take much more.

I gave up graduating from my dream college to move home to a mother who could no longer keep her life together in any way, shape or form---she'd lost her job, needed to move, her health was declining, her amazing boyfriend was driven away by emotional abuse from her, and my sisters were so scared.

I worked my butt off for a few months, paying the bills and trying to get her help, as my sisters moved in with their boyfriend and our dad.

I did the brunt of the child-rearing with my sisters (who are 2 and 4 years younger than me) because Mom was even physically and mentally ill back then. They have grown to resent her for stages of abuse, neglect, etc. and have little to no relationship with her at all.

She has not worked in 2 years, and blew through a small inheritance from the sale of my deceased grandmother's house on hoarding. Her apartment, 10x15 foot storage room, and car are FILLED to the brim (despite me cleaning out all of these places more times than I can count, for them to be totally filled again in a month MY WHOLE LIFE...many members of her family suffer with hoarding so it's always been an issue for her).

She now lives on $847 a month SSI, with her rent taking up $307 (thank God for housing assistance!) of that money. I pay for her car insurance, cell phone, storage room full of unnecessary junk, and other bills, but I'm getting strapped financially.

In the past 4 years, she has been in 7 car accidents and totaled 4 cars. Ever time this happens, she calls me crying and I'M the one to do everything that needs to be done after an automobile accident, for her to then call and say, "So we're getting me a new car again, right?!" The DMV won't take her license and I can't (she's threatened me over it), but I surely fight her on driving almost every day.

I've started to pay for UBER rides for her when she needs to go somewhere I can't take her.

She has multiple doctors, therapists, specialists, etc. that I take her to and is on 12 different medications. She's tried alternative therapy, acupuncture, massages, Reiko, homeopathic medication, medical marijuana, and more but NOTHING seems to help.

Her mood swings, fatigue, and other symptoms are horrible. She is slipping mentally now, not bathing, calling and texting me dozens of times a day expecting me to drop everything to attend to her latest need. And I do.

If she can get out of bed that day, all of her energy and time are wasted on meaningless tasks---shuffling clothes from one room to another, posting on Facebook, etc. instead of cleaning, sorting and GETTING RID of things that are impeding both of our lives.

She is truly mentally sick, but not sick enough for me to take full control. She is a master manipulator- using guilt, constant crying when she doesn't get her way or is upset, lecturing, the silent treatment, and other abusive behaviors regularly to me.

In the span of one 3 hour period, we can go from enjoying a cup of coffee in my living room, to her screaming at me that "kids are supposed to take care of their sick parents!", guilting me over not spending enough time with her, throwing objects around the room when she can't find something, then working herself into a panic attack so badly that I need to call an ambulance and sit in an ER all night (for the umteenth time) for her to be released right back into my care. This scenario is now starting to happen a few times a week.

My sisters do not help in any way. One has NO relationship with her at all---blocked her phone number, won't allow visits, even avoids family gatherings if our mother is there.

The other calls or texts her once in a while, and may show up with flowers twice a year, but books it out the door at the first sign of mom being sick or if she's asked to do anything to help.

This sister recently told my best friend (who does more for my Mom than my sister does) that she "can't contribute financially because I have my own goals and dreams I'm working towards". UMMMM, WHAT?!

I understand that they don't like her and are mad/sad/hurt over what happened when we were younger---but don't they see what this is doing to ME? Don't they want to help ME? I guess not!

I'm only 30. My life wasn't supposed to be like this. She's only 60. She could live another 3 decades. By then, I'll probably be divorced, financially ruined, and bitter as hell.

My husband is as patient as a saint, but this situation is really driving a wedge in our marriage. We have no children---not because we don't want any, but because working full time, going to graduate school just to keep my career, taking care of my mom, and raising a baby just aren't feasible financially, physically or emotionally.

I am sacrificing my life to care for her, and she absolutely will NOT allow me to take full control over cleaning out anywhere or placing her in a home. I can't afford a nursing facility and she is on the state (free for her) health insurance.

I don't know what to do anymore, as there are days that I wish she (or even me) would hurry up and die so I would not be stuck in this living hell anymore.

I have already made a pact to any future unborn children of mine that I would NEVER put them through this. I will kill myself long before I become a physical, emotional, financial burden on a loved one.

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Quantum Universe
by: Anonymous

I'm convinced that by your reaching out with your thoughts and prayers and the tender loving care of the people on this forum, the Universe (God) whatever you want to call it, has arranged to bring you the help and relief you so desperately need.

Don't give up and don't give in, keep looking forward. That's what we all have to do, we can't go under. Together, we can all help each other, and we do it every time we come here and give each other support.

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Thank You
by: Amy

Thank you so much for the comments and advice. After posting this on an exceptionally bad day, I am happy to report that God has delivered me some small miracles.

In the past few weeks, my mother's health insurance company has issued her a social worker and case manager, who have been great about calling/texting both her and me, helping out with rides to doctor's appointments, and arranging for assistive devices (a walker, a raised toilet seat, etc.)

Also, a new primary care physician has taken on my mom's case. She is a sweetheart with a genuine interest in helping her as well as me. Our initial appointment with her lasted 2.5 hours and more was done/said in that one trip than EVER by her former PCP!

She has ordered a visiting nurse as well as elder care/companionship and assures me it will be covered by insurance. Now, to get the apartment presentable enough to let these people in!

Furthermore, I reached out to my sisters in one final, desperate attempt. Both have agreed to at least call and check in with my mother from time to time. This may seem like nothing, but it will lift Ma's spirits immensely just to think that they care a little bit.

She and I had a very serious conversation about how her physical and mental illnesses are now manifesting within me as well.

I broke down sobbing and pointed out my noticeable weight loss, irritability and daily stress over trying to maintain my life and care for her alone.

She seems more willing to accept outside help than ever before, and I'm 95% convinced that she'll FINALLY stop driving!

Please continue to pray for us, as you all know that even with a bit of help, caring for an elderly, sick loved one is no easy task. I continue to pray and send good thoughts to ANYONE living the caretaker life. Thank you!

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Same Here
by: alone jokingly post

Hi. Your mother is Twins with mine. When I read yours. I thought I wrote it so much she same every aspect. Guilt trips crying, yelling, embarrassing me in public. So so sorry.
Your in this. I am swallowed here.I've tried for so long u can't win.

You are special and lovingly for taking on such task but u must admire yourself and remove yourself. Let someone else step up. Its time. Time to get you back as # 1. And minimize your visits.Not easy but a must.

Best of luck bless.I know u do more than anyone will ever know. Your family needs u too. Work on this arraignment if u can't. Make things all better for her. U need to get back too u. No guilt

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So sorry
by: Anonymous

I'm sorry, your life really sounds like hell. I thought I had it bad until I read your story.

As an outsider, I feel that you should turn your mother over to some state agency. You just can't ruin your life any more, especially because it is not going to get any better this way.

Again, I'm sorry for you. Good luck. You will need to be tough to turn your back. I can't do it to my mother, but she is not as abusive as yours.

You have done what you could and now it is too much.

I wish things were different for us and there was a benevolent home for our parents to go to and get taken care of. . . There are agencies that only deal with pieces of it all.

When you turn your back, and there is no one else to take care of her, a state agency must step in. I saw it happen once in a friends family. The children would not pay for the Alzheimer's father, so he was moved to a facility. If other people know more about this, please write.

Keep us posted please.

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LEARN TO SWIM AWAY FROM THE WHIRLPOOL
by: Anonymous

Wow, Amy, reading your post makes me cringe for you. If what you say is really true and you are not exaggerating about the irrational behavior of your mother, then you need to do the following, and quick:

SAVE YOURSELF, SAVE YOURSELF, SAVE YOURSELF!!!

You must realize that the insane have no control over their behaviors, whether we think we know them or not. I know she is your mother but this does NOT mean, in ANY way, shape or form that you HAVE TO SACRIFICE your own sanity and your life to her insanity.

You may love her and genuinely care, but you HAVE to put YOUR basic needs first, and not feel guilty about doing so (yes, you do or you'll regret it forever). You stated that your mom COULD live another 30 years. Can you really envision yourself being her willing victim for even 30 more days?

There comes a time when we have to LET GO, even if it is a parent, even if they are beyond reasonable help. Realize that you, as a daughter who has been left alone in the trenches by your siblings who are really trying to save THEMSELVES, are not going to be the heroine and cure her insanity by giving up your life for her sake, PERIOD!

The choice in what to do next is yours alone, but I hope that I, as a complete stranger, have at least provided you with some encouragement to empower you to be free from a cruel fate.

Best of luck to you, and remember: don't sink with the ship because you have been manipulated by your family into feeling responsible for it grounding on a reef of your mom's despair.

No one deserves this. No one is responsible for it, either. You have every damn right to lead your life free from such harassment as do your siblings, who are consciously not involved in the madness. So don't be their pawn or a willing dupe so that they can avoid mom.

Move on and don't look back. Walk away from the carnage of your mom's life and let someone else deal with it!

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