When Life Has You By The Balls

by helpmeplease
(Northeast)

I'm not a baby boomer, but I'm taking care of one. And my mother is not elderly; she's 55, but acts like 10. And I'm 24 having a full fledged crisis.


My mother had a massive stroke seven years ago, when I was 17. She was left paralyzed on the right side of her body. Although she's half paralyzed, she's able to walk and take care of herself. In the beginning, she did really well with regaining her speech, exercising her body, and challenging herself to increase her mobility around the house. So, I left for college and returned home almost 3 years ago. Considering that I did not pursue a lucrative field (I provide case management services for people living with HIV/AIDS), I'm at home trying to find a higher paying job. (I make less than 30K a year)

Since I've returned, my mother has become ridiculously lax with her progress. She has me running behind her left and right. I cook, I clean, I bathe her, I take her outside, and I listen to her rants. Considering she's a heavier woman, this isn't easy.

She's developed a horrible vice and spends all of her money on Home Shopping Network (HSN), QVC, Shop NBC, and those "this is a piece of junk but I think I can use this for something" magazine.

Then, she complains that she doesn't have money for her bills as chastises me on how I can't contribute more. And to top it off, my mother put 4 credit cards in my name while I was in college and since she hasn't consistently paid them on time, my credit has taken a hit.

I currently pay my car note, full insurance, school loans, my credit cards (which I'm paying off), gas, and the basics. (soap, shampoo, toilet paper) The only thing I splurge on is my cellphone. (Can't let go of the GPS) My mother gets $400 dollars from me a month and I do all the shopping for the household. I'm seriously living from paycheck to paycheck and she's still not happy.

I haven't been able to save a dime since I've been here, so I can't go anywhere. All of my family lives in a different state, so it's just me and her.

I'm miserable! She's digging herself into a hole of debt and my biggest fear is that she's going to die and leave me with the debt she put in my name. She makes me buy her fast food four times a week and it's killing me. I can't afford this anymore! She yells at me, expecting me to perform the impossible. I can't be everywhere at once! I'm an only child. I just need peace of mind. My mental health is going out the window.

Help!

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by: Anonymous

I echo all of the previous comments, and want to add this:

It's really okay to leave people who abuse you like this. Even if that person is your mother.

You cannot go on like this. From where I sit, you aren't stuck by anything other than emotional blackmail. You should look for a job in another state (I assume you're in the US?).. anyway MOVE away.

Contact all the credit card companies and cancel all those cards. Work with the banks to rebuild your credit while moving in with a roommate to share expenses. (I know it sucks, but it's the way of the world these days)

Get your life back on track. Tell your mother that this is the scenario and largely she is the one who created it. There are too many years ahead of you (and her, even) for you to be under this much financial and emotional baggage. You will be in for decades and decades of pain and struggle if you don't take action right now.

hugs.

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There are Things you Can Do
by: Anonymous

WOW, you do have a lot on your plate! My mom has also had a left sided stroke - actually two, and her speech - well, let's just say dad and I are the only ones that can understand. I am going to make some assumptions based on your mom's condition: You are named on her HIPAA forms to receive information as to her conditions. You may or may not have her power of attorney.

As an only child, and the only one around, I'm assuming you do. If not, you might want to contact her doctor and advise him of some of the things that she is doing, particularly that she is no longer able to live without assistance, and that she is no longer financially responsible.

Once you do this, advise the doctor, as well as have her seen by him, your next step should be to an elder attorney to help you get the necessary paperwork in order, whether it be an incompetence hearing or just a power of attorney to take over her affairs. I don't know if your mom is aphasic as well as apraxic, so that would determine whether you should go for an incompetence hearing/guardianship hearing or just a power of attorney.

With that in place, you can put a limit on how much she can spend on the home shopping club, etc., she should be able to spend some.

But, she also should be able to pay her bills. you might also want to look into whether your state allows you to apply for a "caregiver" payment as you have not been able to pursue a job in your chosen field and/or have had to take a cut in pay in order to care for your mom. Most states have something like that.

Who took care of your mom for the three years you were in college? Is your dad/her husband still around? I can't imagine she lived on her own with a left-sided stroke that left her paralyzed and with an inability to speak. Regardless, if you believe she has regressed, again, speak to her doctor and if she has medicaid/medicare, or some other insurance, he can set her up with a nurse, occupational, physical and speech therapy, as well as home care for you; someone that would come in and bathe her a couple of times a week, as well as cook a meal or two.

My mom threw the home health aide out, but hopefully your mom will allow it.

I hope this helps.

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Time to Care for Yourself
by: Anonymous

Wow! you have done so much for her and gone beyond what is "reasonable". I hope you recognize this and give yourself a pat on the back for the care your have provided, however it is time you care for yourself, put your needs first and also think of your future.

When it comes to family, the emotional parent/child and sibling relationships make it very difficult to apply case management skills that you possess. Give yourself permission to seek professional help.

What is happening to you financially with the credit cards is totally inappropriate. It's time to put a block on the cards and say that you cannot afford her addiction.

Can you speak to your mother's Doctor or a Social Worker about what is happening for you? Maybe you also need a Power of Attorney put in place. You have nothing to lose by taking some positive steps for yourself, and it will be difficult emotionally. As you say she is never going to be happy and nor will you be until things change.

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What Would you Do?
by: Anonymous

OMG! I sure feel for you!
While reading your post I couldn't help but think (with your case management skills) "what would the plan be if you and/or your mom were your clients?"
Will be thinking of you.
Mary Santa Rosa. CA

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