Mothers Assistant

by Mel

Life-ing it with MOM.

Yes, I am angry that my siblings do not understand what it is like living with Mom. I feel many times Mother wants or expects too much out of me, dominating at first my time from the moment I woke to the moment she went to bed.

The amount of dominance Mom displays shows her controlling nature and defiance of that nature leads her to outbursts of tears. I'm Feeling like I am the teenager again while life-ing it with mom. I love my mom, but sometimes it's so frustrating living like a teenager with her.

I'm the one that had the lack of resources or true vocation to say no to helping care for mom, but although my other siblings asked me to help, they do not help with any financial gain. I have no retirement, no income, and to get another part time job would seem the logical idea but except for her behavior when I return home from being gone even for a half hour.

My circumstances have always left me just getting by since my separation 20 years ago from my children's father, not high paying but until recently I was able to support myself and my son, we lived nearest to mom, and when her eyesight failed she asked me to come stay with her and she knew my son lived with me.

We worked out the arrangements and I tried to set some arrangements as to what I'd be doing now and then. But the reality is, my mother must control her environment totally, even with her blindness; by her behavior toward my few friends she has made sure I don't have a life outside her home. Simply by making it miserable for me when I return home - if I went somewhere solely for my own benefit or that of a friend, but if an errand of hers was included then it wasn't so bad hearing about people taking advantage of my time.

I laugh right now at the irony of this. I speak in the past tense about friends, because one of my friends has passed away from cancer. The others are in the town where I used to live and too far to be involved with me on a regular basis.

She can maneuver just fine in her own environment with what little sight she has, even in the yard, but she's not really safe and I don't like leaving her alone, thus the back-up help from my son, if only his health wasn't a factor in his disability.

I'm not a stranger to helping elderly out, I've been a helper to senior citizens between my 2 marriages for over 30 years.

I feel that one of my brothers is overly
critical of my life here with my mom, my stuff is here, and he's angry that the house and yard is not a pristine spartan home anymore.

It's rained a lot and the yard wild flowers have grown and it's not buttered to the ground. And I mean spartan as in very little humanity to the home. As an example, Mom kept hitting the displayed family portraits in the hall, so we took them off the wall and he was very happy they were gone.

I said I was going to paint the hall when the weather got good, he told me he'd rather I didn't do it as he believes he'll do a better job. OOOO!

I used to paint and clean apartments for heavens Sake and I'm his older sister! He's a good man, single no children, although a go getter, a hard worker, a manager, but he has become an opinionated snob when it comes to my situation with mom.

Because really we're 3 people liven here with various disabilities that prevent us from being hard working, and the 2 of us don't want to be slaves to her will.

I've tried to find a way that I could have an income while being here at home, even trying to find a way to be paid to doing this, but she won't share her financial information, and living on her 1600 a month is not fair that she has to share that with us, I applied and receive some state aid.

Thank God there is not a mortgage, I have not found any work on the computer that is legitimate and I'm not "Living off of MOM" nor taking advantage of her deliberately, she asked me to live here, and we discussed it and I agreed. Yes, these are things that someone accused me of once.

There are natural expenses in a home when there is more than one person living in it, and I feel that I've obsessed about my brother's attitude. I have no skills at telling him that it's difficult to live with her, and that she is so controlling she will tell you how to eat your food, how to use her septic toilet right, even how to groom yourself, even though you've known how since she taught you in the first place!

And for over 20 years We've known how to treat the house since they built the place!

Ah my Mom. The way she is is, she will not accept outsiders in her home, she doesn't allow people in! because she thinks they'll steal from her if they are here, so she is definitely not someone who can have a paid assisted living stranger in her home.

And that's my life to date, Happy Mother's day.

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Page 2 by Mothers Assistant
by: Mel

Hello, Boomers Coping with Caring for Parents.

I am glad yet a little embarrassed to vent my feelings, but it's so been beneficial to speak up since my support circle got shrunk down.

Thank You for this site.

One of the things that happened this last week was the planning for the yard work. Have you experienced that making plans to have work done with your parent isn't always what you think you told them?

In this case, it was yard work. We discussed it, but not in a way that is nit picky and detailed, and then I get confronted that she doesn't know the whole details, basically getting chewed out for the workers showing up in the morning?

Which actually may have scared them away because the young man felt very uncomfortable said his wife to me. Young man, he's in his 30's! Listen to me, I am beginning to feel old.

Several times she explained how much she wanted to pay, a certain amount, and bemoaned if it was going to be more... I made it clear we could only pay a certain amount. Then she starts talking about what extra would it be if any, who would do it, when, how often, all these things we discussed at least twice a day for 3 days.

I talked to the man I wanted to give the job to, as she liked him, but his age, haha, around my age, is catching up with his back also, so he recommended his daughter and son-in-law. I told him, "cool, no problem, I've seen how hard they work and they do good work. If they can do it for the price that would be great!"

And so, I told mom what he said, then I explained to her what he said, answered her questions. Yet she was like constantly asking me about the ages of the people, and again who they were, and several times I told her, now this went on all weekend at various times like I mentioned above and it tried my patience when I told her we did discuss this and again was accused of not discussing things with her.

This is a value issue and trust issue here and her habits of grilling the life out of someone for their intimate details is why she is a control freak to this day.

My mother is a very linear thinker, excellent accountant mentality, very lawful, nit-picky to the core about everything and doesn't know that she is this terrible social inter actor, intimidating and negative about things even when a good job has been done.

So, actually, what I'm dealing with is the control factor, what she can't do is actually see what's going to go on, what the people actually look like, like as if their features and dress code is going to give her total insight into their moral character.

She has such a complex that I have to remind myself not to become belligerent in my responses back to her. And I do try not to give responses to her that may indicate she's lost it.

Mom likes work done early, so that was like one of the good things, something trivial that didn't even cross my mind to re-iterate to her. The unfortunate thing is now that I think about it, is that they could have stopped by the other day, spoke with us, and got her permission to come at a specific time to do the work.

So when they showed up bright and early it was a very uncomfortable thing. I was in the bathroom and didn't even hear the door knocker. And since She can't see didn't even think who could be at her door!

And when introduced by the person outside Mom thought it was still dark, (although the sun was up and we were on the front porch, nice big porch.) It can be scary to see her behave in certain ways, although it's not much different from 5 years ago just before she lost most of her sight. Anyway, I hope they come back to do the yard. We'll see.

So now, I can analyze what's happened this morning, taken me some time to write this, in between this, that, and the other thing. There are several things happening here: Her Perception of the world around her: she stresses for herself the importance of understanding details, the ultra-importance of her being involved in the final decision and making me the subordinate leaving me without the right to make a decision without her consent.

Her understanding of the details makes her secure, which also gives her a right to complain if the details are not met, this is foremost her natural state of being and not one that is a result of aging.

I admit now that her distrust in a person looms if the details are not met. I have caught myself being a petulant and recalcitrant child at times when she discredits my ability. If a person constantly sees the negative in people, they will always see the negative in people.

An example of that is if you're not happy in your town now, you won't be happy in the town you move too, simply because you take your problem attitude with you.

Second of the things occurring here are auditory and vision. Her hearing isn't very good, although it is good when it comes to the bass sounds.

She has hearing aids and along with her near total blindness she claims that she can't remember things because of these things and that I don't explain things well. "I can't see so I have to ask over and over."

I have seen this before, been through it with other clients, but how do you tell your mother that she needs worry less about things and have trust? My people skills with Mom though must improve to handle this situation as the brothers I have would have no clue to watch for what's coming or how to handle it.

A life truth to me is when thinking about her is the details are not as important as she makes them out to be in the many things that she wants the details of; "life is too short to sweat the small stuff."

She does not want to micromanage people or at least consciously she says she doesn't, in reality, it's what she is doing. IF the details are missing, it causes her to ask too many questions which actually weighs upon the others person's patience.

Considering that this can cause problems many passive aggressive behaviors are from vulnerable people, sometimes displayed with biting comments, negative remarks or even blatant soft threats, if you don't do X this way, I will do YZ to you.

I think back on the various projects we do, and she's always thinking about things to get done that do not have a play in the daily ability to live a happy life, but they do have a play in disaster preparedness and not getting caught unaware of the constant danger out there.

Yes, it is very tiring, but patience, it is her world. The sudden new projects may be because she feels insecure, unable to control her environment. So a new project or one that was mentioned in casual becomes a must do, right now, and with the family life expectancy of 85 to 99 years, she may or may not be around to see their fruition or she may be, who knows.

I know that feeling vulnerable is terrible and that it causes judgment problems. But to shield one's self from society is to not be a friend to anyone, being vulnerable is where she is at now in her life and having to rely on me to help her is frustrating.

She takes care of her own grooming and needs and does her laundry, has her books to listen too, projects she wants to be done. I just need more energy, Please, just to keep up with her!

If there are subtle indicators of nearing the end time of one's life, this is not one, this behavior is ingrained in her, to be reactionary to disappointments of her wants not being met. Granted for a go-getter, she is a very bored, and some of her behavior indicates she is feeling a lack of usefulness.

One of her behaviors which she's cultivated since my father died almost ten years ago is over planning for the future. Certain things should be taken care of properly, and I do not consider them to be a behavior of "over planning," but buying more than you need because it may be needed when you're not here, is.

I can't break her of this behavior, although, as her daughter I've tried to discourage some of it and delay her projects, or use sound reasoning against something, but more to the point, we, you and me as caregivers, cannot force anyone even in our position as helper/caretaker to a family member to do things differently than the way they wish things to be done.

It's called their senior rights, and her rights are just as important as my rights, but in the position that I am in, I must be more mindful of hers. Normal household things get done, but not under duress and not on her strict schedule of servitude, and they'll never be done to her satisfaction because of the way she is, not because they are not done right.

The environment she lives in is clean and secure for her safety and comfort. Hopefully, I will retain my sanity with little rewards now and then.
Finally, I may be learning to cope with having to acquiesce to her need for details, because without the details clearly laid out, and communicated to her in an exact way, no matter how many times we have to go over it, we are always going to have conflicts.

If you treat someone in a certain way as if they are irresponsible/responsible they just might abide by your world view and become the person you dislike or like when they are around you and totally forget to be the person you want to be.
Oh, by the way, the yard workers returned.

At least the front's done, we have a large front yard. They will return tomorrow to do the back which is a little smaller, not by much. Mom doubled her payment because she decided to and it is hard work and they used their own tools.

OK, now I will see how often she complains about it. The little gremlin in the dark is waiting.

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